Trial held on violations of land management law in Dong Tam commune

Hanoi (VNA) – The People’s Court of My Duc
district, Hanoi, on August 8 opened the first instance trial on law violations
regarding land management in the district’s Dong Tam commune.

Among the defendants at the trial, 10 faced the
charge of abusing position and power while on duty in pursuant to Article 281
of the Penal Code. They included three former Chairmen of the Dong Tam commune
People’s Committee who are Nguyen Van Son, Le Dinh Thuan and Nguyen Van Bot. A
former secretary of the commune’s Party Committee – Nguyen Tien Trien -, and a
former commune official in charge of land registration – Nguyen Xuan Truong –
are also among the group.

Meanwhile, four others were charged with
“irresponsibility causing serious consequences” in line with Article 285 of the
Penal Code. They are Pham Huu Sach, former head of My Duc district’s
Environment and Natural Resources Division; Dinh Van Dung, former Director of
My Duc district’s Land Registration Office; Bach Van Dong, former Deputy
Director of the district’s Land Registration Office; and Tran Trung Tan, an
official of the district Land Registration Office.

According to the indictment, between 2002 and 2013,
Bot, Son, Thuan, and other key officials of Dong Tam commune illegally
allocated and granted land to some local households, or legalized land that
some households occupied illegally.  

The four indicted district officials did not fulfil
their responsibility for verifying the origin of the land, resulting in the
unlawful granting of land-use certificates.

Dong Tam Commune’s People Committee got approval
from the People’s Committee of former Ha Tay province to allocate 5,425 sq.m of
land managed by the commune People’s Committee to 49 local households for

Bot, as Chairman of the Dong Tam commune People’s
Committee, and Truong as official in charge of land registration, handed over
4,095 sq.m of land to only 39 out of the 49 eligible households.

When Son took over the post of Chairman of the Dong
Tam Commune in 2002, he agreed to grant the remaining 1,300 sq.m of land to ten
key officials of the commune, who had to pay only 100,000 VND per sq.m.

Between 2011-2013, Dong Tam People’s Committee
officials also helped with the legalization of applications for land-use
certificates of 12 households for total area of 1,834 sq.m which were allocated
or illegally occupied during 2002-2003.

Truong, as the local land registration official,
gave his confirmation in the applications that the land of the households was
granted before October 15, 1993 and there was no dispute concerning the land.

Thuan, as the then Chairman of the commune People’s
Committee, approved the applications to be submitted to the district’s

Authorised district officials approved the
applications without conducting required verification.

The violations of the officials were detected and
investigated following complaints from residents.

The trial will last two days.

Dong Tam commune made headlines in local media for a
land scandal in late March and mid-April when 38 civil servants and some police
personnel were held hostage by the commune’s residents.

The residents were protesting what they considered
was unjustified revoking of land where they’d built homes and lived for many

As tensions escalated in March, police opened an
investigation against the residents for “disturbing social order.”

Matters came to a head on
April 15, when police arrested four people. Local villagers retaliated by
surrounding and seizing 38 officials, including police officers.-VNA

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