Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The People’s Court of Mỹ Đức District, Hà Nội, today opened the first instance trial on law violations regarding land management in the district’s Đồng Tâm Commune.
Among the defendants at the trial, 10 faced the charge of abusing position and power while on duty in pursuant to Article 281 of the Penal Code. They included three former chairmen of the Đồng Tâm Commune People’s Committee who are Nguyễn Văn Sơn, Lê Đình Thuấn and Nguyễn Văn Bột. A former secretary of the commune’s Party Committee - Nguyễn Tiến Triển, and a former commune official in charge of land registration - Nguyễn Xuân Trường - are also among the group.
Meanwhile, four others were charged with “irresponsibility causing serious consequences” in line with Article 285 of the Penal Code. They are Phạm Hữu Sách, former head of Mỹ Đức District’s Environment and Natural Resources Division; Đinh Văn Dũng, former director of Mỹ Đức District’s Land Registration Office; Bạch Văn Đông, former deputy director of the district’s Land Registration Office; and Trần Trung Tấn, an official of the district Land Registration Office.
According to the indictment, between 2002 and 2013, Bột, Sơn, Thuấn, and other key officials of Đồng Tâm Commune illegally allocated and granted land to some local households, or legalised land that some households occupied illegally.
The four indicted district officials did not fulfil their responsibility for verifying the origin of the land, resulting in the unlawful granting of land-use certificates.
Đồng Tâm Commune’s People’s Committee got approval from the People’s Committee of former Hà Tây Province to allocate 5,425sq.m of land managed by the commune People’s Committee to 49 local households for housing.
Bột, as chairman of the Đồng Tâm Commune People’s Committee, and Trường as official in charge of land registration, handed over 4,095sq.m of land to only 39 out of the 49 eligible households.
When Sơn took over the post of Chairman of the Đồng Tâm Commune in 2002, he agreed to grant the remaining 1,300sq.m of land to ten key officials of the commune, who had to pay only VNĐ100,000 per sq.m.
Between 2011-13, Đồng Tâm People’s Committee officials also helped with the legalisation of applications for land-use certificates of 12 households for a total area of 1,834sq.m which were wrongly allocated or illegally occupied during 2002-03.
Trường, as the local land registration official, gave his confirmation in the applications that the land of the households was granted before October 15, 1993 and there was no dispute concerning the land.
Thuấn, as the then chairman of the commune People’s Committee, approved the applications to be submitted to the district’s administration.
Authorised district officials approved the applications without conducting required verification.
The violations of the officials were detected and investigated following complaints from residents.
The trial will last two days.
Đồng Tâm Commune made headlines in local media for a land scandal in late March and mid-April when 38 civil servants and some police personnel were held hostage by the commune’s residents.
The residents were protesting what they considered was unjustified revoking of land where they’d built homes and lived for many years.
As tensions escalated in March, police opened an investigation against the residents for "disturbing social order."
Matters came to a head on April 15, when police arrested four people. Local villagers retaliated by surrounding and seizing 38 officials, including police officers. — VNS