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Nguyen Thanh Tai, former Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, on September 20 was sentenced to eight years in prison for “violating regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness”, Vietnam Plus revealed.
According to the jury, the land plot at No. 8-12 Le Duan Street in District 1, covering a total area of over 4,800 sq. m., is owned by the State and assigned to the HCM City Housing Management and Trading Company for management and leased out to four companies subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. On November 20, 2007, the municipal People’s Committee approved the construction of a hotel and part of a commercial centre there.
The HCM City Housing Management and Trading Company, with the currently wanted Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy being the director, proposed the municipal People’s Committee permit it to set up a new legal entity in the form of a joint stock company and to mobilise other capital sources to implement the project. This proposal was accepted by Tai as a Vice Chairman of the committee.
|Nguyen Thanh Tai, former vice chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, in court on Wednesday on the opening day of his trial for “violation of regulations on management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness”. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Tuyet|
Taking advantage of her personal relationship with Tai, Le Thi Thanh Thuy, who was then Chairwoman of the Hoa Thang Nam One-Member Limited Company, suggested the HCM City Housing Management and Trading Company allow her business to take part in this project.
After that, Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy signed a document introducing the Hoa Thang Nam company to the project, which was approved by Tai without assigning a specialised agency to verify this firm’s experience and financial capacity.
The four companies under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which were renting land at the plot, agreed with the Kinh Do Investment Co. Ltd to establish a new legal entity which was the Lavenue Investment JSC and let Le Thi Thanh Thuy act as Chairwoman of its board of directors.
Later, those companies transferred their shares, putting the land plot into private ownership, thus causing a loss of over 1.927 trillion VND (83.1 million USD at the current exchange rate) to the State.
The jury concluded that Le Thi Thanh Thuy incited Tai so as to profit from the documents signed by him. Meanwhile, Dao Anh Kiet (former Director of the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment), Nguyen Hoai Nam (former Secretary of the Party Committee of District 2), and Truong Van Ut (former deputy head of the land management section at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment) knew that the project’s dossier was insufficient and hadn’t been approved or verified but still proposed the approval of decisions that ran counter to legal regulations, Vietnam Investment Review reported.
|Defendant Nguyen Thanh Tai, former Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee, at the trial (Photo: VNA)|
According Tien Phong News, four others accused were also sentenced to prison on the same charge, including Le Thi Thanh Thuy, president of Mayflower Investment Company Ltd and Lavenue Investment JSC (five years), Dao Anh Kiet, former director of the HCM City Department of Natural Resources and Environment (five years), Nguyen Hoai Nam, former secretary of the District 2 Party unit (four years), and Truong Van Ut, former deputy head of the department’s land management division (three years).
The 4,896sq.m land lot on Le Duan Street is a State property that had long been earmarked for a five-star hotel and shopping mall. In 2007 the Government ordered its auctioning to pick an investor, not a joint venture, to carry out the project.
|From left to right: Nguyen Thanh Tai, Le Thi Thanh Thuy, Dao Anh Kiet, Truong Van Ut. Photo: Thanhnien/KHẢ HÒA|
However, Tài gave approval for the HCM City Housing Management Company to set up a joint venture with four companies owned by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to develop the project.
Since the case was discovered and the lot returned to the State, the financial losses that the five accused were asked to compensate were reduced from VNĐ1.927 trillion ($83 million) to VNĐ4.7 billion ($202,400).
The city’s People’s Court also ordered the People’s Committee to revoke all certificates of land use rights and related documents issued to Lavenue company.
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