​Vietnamese province raises eyebrows with dubious land swap

The administration of Quang Ngai Province in central Vietnam has raised eyebrows with its dubious offering of a valuable piece of land to an estate developer, in exchange for their construction of a convention center. Quang Ngai’s administration has reportedly agreed to allow estate developer Hop Nghia JSC to construct a convention center under the build-transfer (BT) financing model. According to the agreement, the company will be given a 13.7-hectare piece of land in Quang Ngai’s Le Hong Phong Ward. They are expected to use 9.9 hectares of the land to construct a convention center, which will be transferred to the provincial administration upon completion. The remaining 3.8 hectares of land is for Hop Nghia JSC to develop projects for their own benefit. At four stories high, the convention center will include a 1,000-seat conference hall, four meeting rooms, and eight dining halls capable of hosting up to 400 guests each. The venue will host important meetings and events in the province after its completion. However, the scale of the building has given rise to questions regarding the need for Quang Ngai to own such a luxurious venue at all cost, including accepting the convention center valued at less than two-thirds of the worth of the ‘golden’ piece of land.  The 3.8-hectare area of land Hop Nghia will take for their own is valued at upwards of VND600 billion (US$26.43 million), while the cost of developing the convention center is only VND377 billion ($16.61 million), according to an estate broker…. [Read full story]

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