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Official sentenced over land management fraud

Update: February, 27/2014 - 09:37
Le Duy Khiem

BINH THUAN (VNS)— Le Duy Khiem, former head of the Section for Land Registry under the Land Management Division of the central province of Binh Thuan's Department of National Resources and Environment, was sentenced yesterday to 10 years' imprisonment.

He was accused of taking advantage of his position, causing a loss of over VND22 billion (US$1.04 million) to the State budget.

According to the indictment from the People's Court of Phan Thiet City of Binh Thuan Province, the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment rented a 98,000-sq.m plot of land in Hoa Thang Commune to Tran Hoai Thanh and Ngo Van Phuong.

The couple are both residents of HCM City and, respectively, director and deputy director of the Hawaii Tourism Ltd Co based in Bac Binh District, Binh Thuan Province.

In early 2011, Phuong, the husband, asked Khiem to illegally change the land contract from a rent agreement into four "red books" certifying that the land was allocated to them into four pieces with paid land-use right fee. Thanks to Khiem's help, the change was made without paying more than VND22 billion to the State budget.

The couple then put these "red books" as collateral properties at Agribank's Branch 7 in HCM City to borrow nearly VND30 billion ($1.42 million). Their wrongdoings were discovered when Agribank sent an official letter to Binh Thuan Province's Department of Natural Resources and Environment for verification of the information regarding Phuong's mortgaged assets. — VNS

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