Former director of Hải Phòng Police Department on trial for corruption

April 10, 2024 - 16:36
Đỗ Hữu Ca and 12 other defendants are charged with offences including fraud, tax evasion, and illegal invoice trading.
Defendant Đỗ Hữu Ca at the start of his trial. — VNA/VNS Photo Đức Hiếu

QUẢNG NINH — The former director of the Hải Phòng City Police Department appeared in court on Wednesday for the start of his first-instance fraud trial.

Đỗ Hữu Ca and 12 other defendants are charged with offences including fraud, tax evasion, and illegal invoice trading.

Proceedings began on April 10 at the People's Court of Quảng Ninh Province.

Ca faces charges of fraudulent appropriation of assets while Trương Xuân Đước and his wife Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Anh are accused of ‘illegal trading of invoices and documents for State budget collection’ and ‘offering bribes’.

Nguyễn Đình Đương and Đỗ Thanh Hoài, former officials of the Cát Hải District Tax Department, are indicted for ‘accepting bribes’.

Others facing charges include Đặng Khắc Thành, Hà Thị Bích Nhàn for ‘illegal trading of invoices and documents for State budget collection’, and Hà Thị Trang, Đỗ Thị Đua, Vũ Ngọc Tú, Chu Thị Thu Hiền, Nguyễn Hiền Tài, Ngô Văn Tuyên for ‘tax evasion’.

The People's Court of Quảng Ninh Province has summoned 21 individuals as witnesses in the case.

According to the charges, Đước and Ngọc Anh operated the Khánh Dung Joint Stock Company from 2007, specialising in illicit trading of value-added tax invoices. Ngọc Anh, as the company's chief accountant, managed tax declarations, legalised documents and facilitated the establishment of other firms under Đước's instructions.

Between 2014 and 2021, they established 26 additional companies for illegal invoice trading, using their IDs and those of others. Đước purchased input invoices monthly from Bùi Huy Hợp and others, paying 5 to 6 per cent of the stated goods or services value for tax declaration.

In 2018, Hợp's arrest led Đước to limit invoice purchases and establish 11 companies as cover. Investigations revealed that from March 2013 to May 2022, they traded 15,674 invoices, earning an unlawful amount of VNĐ41.2 billion (US$1.65 million).

Around October 2022, upon hearing of his grandson Trương Văn Nam's investigation for illegal invoice trading, Trương Xuân Đước fled. He instructed his wife to seek help from Ca, a former director of the Hải Phòng City Police Department, to evade charges.

Ngọc Anh then briefed Ca on their predicament, seeking his assistance in evading charges and promising to cover any expenses as per Ca's instructions.

During their exchanges, Ca discovered that the Thái Bình Dương Company, managed by Đước's family, had a sales revenue of around VNĐ200 billion ($8.01 million). Although Ca did not take any steps to assist Đước, he directed Ngọc Anh to prepare 10 per cent of the company's sales revenue and additional funds for evading charges.

From October 2022 to December 2022, Đước and his wife visited Ca's residence in Kênh Giang Commune, Thủy Nguyên District, Hải Phòng City, four times, delivering a total of VNĐ35 billion ($1.4 million).

Despite these payments, there was no response. Before the Lunar New Year in 2023, Đước and his wife visited Ca once more to inquire about the progress of their efforts to evade charges.

Đước's effort to escape the sentences failed, as he was apprehended by the Quảng Ninh Police on February 3, 2023, for illegal invoice trading. Following Đước's arrest, Ngọc Anh visited Ca's residence seeking an update and the return of the money given to Ca, but the retired police chief neither returned the money nor offered assistance, instead reproached Ngọc Anh and dismissed her.

On February 7, 2023, the police arrested Ngọc Anh, and eleven days later, Ca was arrested and detained on charges of "fraudulent appropriation of assets."

During the investigation, Ca admitted to receiving money from Đước and his wife but claimed that he had not influenced any individuals or authorities to evade charges.

During the investigation, the defendants returned over VNĐ40 billion ($1.6 million), which includes the VNĐ35 billion returned fully by Ca.

The trial, presided by judge Bùi Văn Tuấn of the Quảng Ninh People's Procuracy, is expected to last three days. — VNS