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Gov't pays $4.9m for citizen mistreatment

Update: January, 09/2016 - 09:46
The State Budget has paid more than VND7.2 billion compensation for Nguyen Thanh Chan's case in Bac Giang Province. — Photo
HA NOI  (VNS) — The Vietnamese government compensated VND111 billion (US$4.9 million) for the mistreatment by authorities against residents in the last six years, reported the Ministry of Justice yesterday.

The figure was released in a conference reviewing the implementation of the Law on State Compensation Liability, which was not adopted until 2009 and came into effect a year later.

According to the Ministry's Department of State Compensation, governmental agencies have finished procedures to grant compensation to 204 out of a total of 258 complaint cases received so far, or 79 per cent. The remaining cases are due to be resolved this year.

Compensation for wrongdoings in judicial proceedings topped the three causes for state compensation – together with misconduct in administrative management and law enforcement procedures – in terms of amount. It reached more than VND56 billion ($2.5 billion), about half the total figure the government compensated the residents.

The case of Luong Ngoc Phi set the record for a state compensation amount when a Thai Binh City court in November ordered nearly VND23 billion ($1 million) to be granted to Phi.

He was wrongly convicted of tax evasion and appropriation of state property in 1999 and had to spend 15 years to clear his name.

The latest victim, Huynh Van Nen from Binh Thuan province, who had to stay behind bars for 17 years due to false convictions in two murders in the 1990s, was yet to claim any compensation from the authorities, but many believed the number would also be very high.

Liability of officials

Since the law came into effect in 2010, it has been "an important measure to improve the responsibility of state employees and to promote the residents' rights," said Deputy Minister of Justice Nguyen Khanh Ngoc at the conference yesterday.

The former part, however, is still doubtful as state officials found responsible for causing misconduct were fined little to nothing.

Involved officials only contributed about VND676 million ($30,000), or merely 6 per cent, to the total amount the state had to pay the residents for compensation.

"The liability of the officials responsible was yet to be seriously handled, making the deterrent effect less likely," said the State Compensation Department Head Nguyen Van Bon. — VNS

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