|The HCM City People’s Committee has decided to repossess a 5,000sq.m. plot of land on Lê Duẩn Street in District 1 saying it was sold in violation of Land Law provisions.– Photo dantri.com.vn|
HCM CITY – The HCM City People’s Committee has decided to repossess a 5,000sq.m. plot of land on Lê Duẩn Street in District 1 saying it was sold in violation of Land Law provisions.
The Government Inspectorate had recommended the appropriation following a thorough inspection of the transaction.
The plot, stretching from numbers 8 to 12 Lê Duẩn Street and at the junction of three major streets in the downtown area, was public land originally leased to four companies belonging to the Ministry of Industry and Trade in 2007.
The ministry reportedly asked to buy the land but the city refused.
The People’s Committee decided that a five-star hotel and a mall would be built on it instead.
In 2009 then vice chairman Nguyễn Thành Tài tasked the city’s planning department with selecting “reputable and experienced hospitality investors” to implement the plan.
In 2010 the city decided to establish a joint stock company, Lavenue, with 50 per cent owned by the city’s State-run House Trade Management Ltd and the four ministry companies.
But the four quickly sold 80 per cent of their share for a profit.
In 2011 Tài signed a decision approving Lavenue’s use of the land for 50 years at a price of VNĐ3.5 million (US$154) per sq.m per year, a fraction of the market rate of VNĐ400 million ($17,565), according to the Inspectorate.
The Inspectorate concluded that the transactions involved wrongdoing ranging from failure to organise open bidding and leasing the land without inputs from the People’s Committee and People’s Council to approving investment by financially inadequate companies.
It noted there were signs of deliberate violations of State regulations by Tài.
It proposed that the Government should reclaim the land and hold a proper public bidding.
At the current market price on Lê Duẩn Street of around VNĐ400 million ($17,565) per square metre, the city could get more than VNĐ2 trillion ($87.82 million).
Last Saturday Tài, 66, was arrested and the Ministry of Public Security began legal proceedings against a man who had served as vice chairman and permanent vice chairman of the People’s Committee in 2001-10 and 2010-15.
The police said he, and three senior officials at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment — Nguyễn Hoài Nam, 53, then head of the department’s land management office and now Secretary of the District 2 Party Committee; Trương Văn Út, 48, former deputy head of the land management office; and Đào Anh Kiệt, 61, the department’s former director – had been charged with “violations of regulations on management and use of State assets, causing losses and squander.”
Tài, Kiệt and Út have been arrested while Nam is under house arrest.
Kiệt and Út were previously arrested and questioned for mismanagement of land at 15 Thi Sách also in District 1. -- VNS