14 officials go on trial over land dispute

They have been charged with abusing positions and power while being on duty and irresponsibility causing serious consequences.

Of the 14 accused, ten are former leaders and officials of Dong Tam commune including four People’s Committee chairmen Nguyen Van Son, Le Dinh Thuan, Nguyen Van Bot and Nguyen Van Duc, Party Committee secretary Nguyen Tien Trien, police chief Nguyen Van Minh, accountant Nguyen Van Khang, head of financial board Bui Van Dung, cadastral official Nguyen Xuan Truong and commune’s military commander Bui Van Hong.

Four others are officials of My Duc district including Natural Resources and Environment Department’s head Pham Huu Sach, director of Land Registration Office Dinh Van Dung, deputy director Bach Van Dong and office cadre Tran Trung Tan.

Six lawyers participated in defending the accused. Although 15 out of 19 people summoned to the court were absent, the jury board still decided to continue the hearing.

According to indictment, offenders including Nguyen Van Bot, Nguyen Van Son, Le Dinh Thuan and Nguyen Tien Trien illegally allocated land and legalize illicitly encroached land plots for some households to make personal profit.

Nguyen Van Bot and Nguyen Xuan Truong directly handed over land plots with the total area of 4,100 square meters to 39 out of 49 households.

In 2002, Nguyen Van Bot transferred to another position, Nguyen Van Son was appointed to chairman of the communal People’s Committee. At that time, Truong reported to Son about 1,300 square meters of land that have not been handled over to households in the commune.

Because the commune was preparing for re-measurement of housing land, Nguyen Van Son, Nguyen Tien Trien and Nguyen Xuan Truong consulted together and agreed with transferring the 1,300 square meters of land to ten key officials of the commune.

In addition, many officials in Dong Tam commune improperly allocated and sold land to nine households with the total area of 1,600 square meters and legalize illegally encroached land plots of 1,800 square meters for 12 households.

Son, Truong, Trien earned over VND1.5 billion (US$66,000) from the wrong land allocation. Of the number, VND50 million was put out of the commune’s budget.

Each of the above officials received two land plots with the total area of 260-334 square meters without paying land use fee of VND100,000 per square meter as per regulations.

The four accused who are former officials of My Duc district have been charged with not appropriately performing their assigned tasks and irresponsibility in assessing and verifying land origin, leading them to sign groundless confirmation documents.

Dinh Van Dung has been accused of causing the total damage of VND660 million, Tran Trung Tan VND1 billion, Bach Van Dong VND584 million and Pham Huu Sach VND1.2 billion.

The first instance court is expected to take place on August 8 and 9.

By MINH KHANG – Translated by Hai Mien

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