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Heads roll in land scandal

Update: February, 08/2012 - 10:03

HAI PHONG — A series of officials in the northern city of Hai Phong's Tien Lang District, and its Vinh Quang Commune, have been punished for their role in a recent land seizure that caused discontent among both the public and officials.

During a press conference held in the city yesterday, secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Van Thanh announced that Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee and Chairman of the People's Committee of the district Le Van Hien and Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of the district Nguyen Van Khanh, who directly led the seizure, were suspended from their work for a revision of their personal responsibility.

The district police chief Le Van Mai, Secretary of the Party Committee of Vinh Quang Commune Pham Dang Hoan and Chairman of the commune People's Committee Le Thanh Liem were strongly criticised pending serious punishments after the decision on their personal responsibility.

In addition, the standing board and the Secretary of the district's Party Committee were also criticised for their loose leadership and oversight that caused serious consequences.

The police were tasked with conducting an investigation and starting legal procedures against the destruction of the house of Doan Van Vuon, the man who resisted the land seizure. The conclusion of relevant authorities on the case must be made public and the shortcomings repaired at an early date so as to calm down the public.

According to the initial conclusion of the Hai Phong Party Committee's standing board, Vuon's family had been given the right to use 21ha of land in Vinh Quang Commune for the cultivation of seafood since October 4, 1993. Later on, Vuon encroached on another 19.3ha of submerged forest on his own initiative. The Tien Lang People's Committee imposed an administrative fine on Vuon for his encroachment.

After paying the fine, Vuon applied for the use of the land he had encroached, and the district People's Committee on April 9, 1997, allocated the right to him with a term of 14 years, starting on October 4, 1993.

When the term expired, the district People's Committee started the procedures to retrieve all the 40.3ha of land. As for the 19.3ha Vuon had encroached upon, the district People's Committee decided to retrieve it and hand over its management to the Vinh Quang Commune People's Committee.

However, Vuon refused to hand back the land. On January 5 this year, when the district People's Committee conducted the seizure of the 19.3ha plot, Vuon and his family members resisted, wounding six policemen and soldiers of Tien Lang District.

With regard to the seizure of land from Vuon's family, it was judged that Tien Lang authorities failed to fully implement a number of regulations. For example, they did not have a plan drawn up by an authorised office for the use of the land after the seizure to be made known to the land user and did not establish a council on compensation before the seizure.

They also failed to organise a dialogue between those seizing the land and the land user, and let Vuon's house on the land be destroyed after the seizure. Besides, the seizure was conducted right on the threshold of the traditional Lunar New Year, which caused public discontent.

However, the judgement said there were no signs of personal profit or deliberate wrongdoing in the case.

The standing board of the Hai Phong Party Committee also accepted its responsibility before the Political Bureau and the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee, the municipal Party chapter and people for the incident. — VNS

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