A Navy Court Martial on Monday opened the first instance hearing regarding the mismanagement of defence land in HCM City’s District 1 in which former deputy defence minister Nguyen Van Hien, other Navy officials and company leaders are accused.
|Former deputy defence minister Nguyen Van Hien is allowed to sit in court on Monday due to his poor health. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Giang|
According to the verdict of the Central Military Procuracy, when Hien was deputy defence minister and commander of the Vietnam People’s Navy, he signed and approved the use of defence land on Ton Duc Thang Street, Ben Nghe Ward for economic purposes without verifying the information provided by his subordinates. This broke Defence Ministry and Government regulations, as well as the 2013 Land Law.
Hien is accused of failing to supervise financial contributions and ignoring orders from the Defence Ministry. These included his duty to verify why authorisation was given to a Hai Thanh Company director to sign venture contracts, which resulted in partners using land-use rights certificates to take out mortages, change the nature of the ownership and transfer the land to third parties.
As a result, the Navy lost the right to manage and use three plots of land for 49 years, causing losses of VND939 billion to the State budget.
On Monday, Nguyen Van Hien, 67 and retired, was charged with "lack of responsibility, causing serious consequences" in accordance with Clause 3, Article 360 of the 2015 Penal Code.
Those accused of “fraud and appropriation of assets” included Dinh Ngoc He, deputy general director of the Thai Son Corporation under the Ministry of National Defence, and chairman and general director of the Thai Son Development and Investment JSC; Pham Van Diet, general director of the Duc Binh Group Joint Stock Company and managing director of the Yen Khanh Production, Trading Service Limited Company; and Vu Thi Hoan, director of the Yen Khanh Production, Trading Service Limited Company and director of the Yen Khanh Hai Thanh Limited Company.
Bui Nhu Thiem, former head of the Economics Division at the Vietnam People’s Navy; Bui Van Nga, former director of the Hai Thanh Service and Sea Island Tourism One-Member Limited Liability Company at the Vietnam People’s Navy; and Tran Trong Tuan, deputy director of the Hai Thanh Service and Sea Island Tourism One-Member Limited Liability Company, are also being prosecuted for “violating regulations on land management”.
At its 12th plenum last week, the Party Central Committee considered and decided upon disciplinary measures against Hien - expelling him from the Party.
Bui Nhu Thiem, Doan Manh Thao, Bui Van Nga and Tran Trong Tuan were accused of making false proposals that led to Hien’s lack of oversight and subsequent approval of the documents, which caused great losses.
Dinh Ngoc He, Pham Van Duyet and Vu Thi Hoan were accused of acting fraudulently by forging signatures to transfer land use rights from Hai Thanh Company to Yen Khanh Hai Thanh Company for use as collateral for bank loans.
At a trial on July 31, 2018, the Military Court of Military Zone 7 sentenced Dinh Ngoc He to ten years in jail for “abusing his position and power while performing official duties”, and another two years for “using falsified documents from agencies and organisations”.
According to the Central Military Procuracy, when signing venture contracts the accused ignored land prices set by the HCM City People’s Committee and agreed on deals for far less money.
As a result, between September 4, 2006 to 2018, the State lost over VND20 billion. Hien, Thiem, Nga and Thao were convicted of being complicit to the loss.
However, on Monday the Central Military Procuracy overturned that ruling as there was not enough evidence to support the convictions.
The first instance hearing is expected to run until May 20. VNS
The Central Military Procuracy has completed an indictment to prosecute a former high ranking official from the Ministry of Defence and other defendants for violations relating to fraud and land management.
The Military Court of the Vietnam People’s Navy opened a trial on May 18 for a case involving Dinh Ngoc He, alias “Ut troc”, and other defendants on charges of “fraud, appropriation of assets,”