Four defendants, Đào Anh Kiệt, Trương Văn Út, Lê Văn Thanh, and Nguyễn Thanh Chương, at the appeals trial in HCM City yesterday. VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Chung
HCM CITY — The HCM City People’s Court upheld the verdict handed down to former officials for “violating regulations on management and use of State assets, causing serious losses”.
Last December the court sentenced former vice chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyễn Hữu Tín to seven years in prison for violating regulations on management and use of State assets, causing serious losses, under Article 219 of the Penal Code 2015.
Tín was charged for his involvement in the sale of public land in a prime location, resulting in losses of more than VNĐ800 billion (US$34 million) to the State.
Former director of the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Đào Anh Kiệt, was jailed for six years and six months; former deputy head of the land management division at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Trương Văn Út, five years; former deputy chief of the office of the municipal People’s Committee, Lê Văn Thanh, four years; and former head of the urban division at the office of the municipal People’s Committee, Nguyễn Thanh Chương, three years.
Tín did not appeal his sentence, but the other four defendants were hoping to have their sentences reduced.
The city’s People’s Procuracy rejected their plea, saying their wrongful acts had been serious and caused people to lose trust in leaders, so they must be strictly punished.
Tín was absent at the appeal trial due to health reasons, according to the court.
According to the indictment from the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Tín, in his former position as vice chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, was in charge of issues regarding construction, land management and environment in the city.
Tín and the other defendants helped the now-jailed business tycoon Phan Văn Anh Vũ, also known as Vũ Nhôm, to acquire buildings and public land in prime locations across the city at extremely low prices, causing great damage to the State.
Tín was clearly aware that the land and buildings at 15 Thi Sách Street in HCM City’s District 1 were under State management, according to the court.
Despite this, Tín instructed the HCM City Department of Natural Resources and Environment to lease the land to Vũ, former chairman of the Đà Nẵng-based Bắc Nam 79 Construction JSC, and not report the matter to the chairman of the municipal People’s Committee at the time.
The other defendants then illegally handed over a 2,345sq.m lot at 15 Thi Sách Street in HCM City to one of the companies owned by Vũ.
They also asked Tín to issue illegal decisions on land leases, house sales, and tax deductions.
In addition, Tín and the other defendants helped Vũ and his partners build an 18-storey building at 15 Thi Sách Street and sell or rent it out to 114 clients, earning more than VNĐ1.033 trillion (US$44.35 million).
As of September 17, 2018, when police began investigating the case, their acts had caused a loss of VNĐ808.7 billion ($34.73 million) to the State.
In addition, in 2009, Vũ began moonlighting as an operative for the General Department of Intelligence under the Ministry of Public Security, but left the organisation in 2017.
According to the indictment, Vũ, while serving as chairman of Bắc Nam 79 Construction JSC, used the firm as a front for the General Department of Intelligence.
Police said that Vũ worked behind the scenes to set up five real estate agencies under either his name or his family members between 2002 and 2017.
He targeted public land in Đà Nẵng and managed to acquire 21 State-owned buildings and seven land projects in the city without going through public bidding, as required by law.
Vũ is serving a prison sentence of nine years after a Hà Nội court found him guilty of deliberately disclosing State secrets in 2018. — VNS