Ex-Minister of Industry and Trade Vũ Huy Hoàng. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — The first-instance trial for ex-Minister of Industry and Trade Vũ Huy Hoàng and nine accomplices, slated for January 18, has been postponed again due to the absence of witnesses and people associated with the case.
This is the second time the trial has been delayed due to people not turning up to court.
Hoàng, born in 1953, and Phan Chí Dũng - former head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Light Industry Department, face charges of “violating regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness”.
The eight other defendants, who are former HCM City officials, including Nguyễn Hữu Tín, born in 1957 and the former Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, were accused of “violating regulations on land management”.
Tín and two others who are former officials of HCM City were absent from the original trial on January 7.
According to the indictment from the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the Saigon Beer - Alcohol - Beverage JSC (Sabeco), which is under the MoIT’s management, was given 6,080sq.m of land in Bến Nghé Ward of HCM City’s District 1 for non-agricultural production and business purposes.
However, Hoàng, Dũng and former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hồ Thị Kim Thoa directed subordinates at the ministry and Sabeco to carry out procedures for using land use rights and Sabeco's money as capital contributions to set up Sabeco Pearl, a joint venture between the firm and a number of private enterprises, to implement a project building a hotel, a trade and convention centre, and office space for lease on the land.
After Sabeco completed legal procedures for the joint venture’s investment and proposed the HCM City People’s Committee approve the addition of officetel and housing functions to this project, the MoIT ordered the company transfer all of Sabeco's stake in this project to the private enterprises in the joint venture.
As a result, the right to manage and use the land, which is a State asset and worth more than VNĐ3.816 trillion, was illegally transferred to private firms, causing a “particularly big” loss of over VNĐ2.713 trillion (US$118 million) to the State, according to the indictment.
Another of the accused, Hồ Thị Kim Thoa, has fled, and the investigation police agency has put her on the wanted list. — VNS