HCMC – The Supreme People’s Procuracy of Vietnam on September 14 handed down an indictment against former Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang for violating regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness.
Hoang’s accomplices have also been indicted, including former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa, former head of the Light Industry Department Phan Chi Dung, former vice chairman of HCMC Nguyen Huu Tin, former director of the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment Dao Anh Kiet, former deputy director of the Land Management Division under the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment Truong Van Ut, former deputy chief of the secretariat of the HCMC People’s Committee Le Van Thanh and four others.
They were indicted for their involvement in the handover of a 6,000 square-meter land lot at No. 2-4-6 Hai Ba Trung Street in District 1, HCMC, to the private sector, which caused a loss of over VND2.7 trillion for the State.
Hoang and Dung were charged with breaking rules on the management and use of State assets, which led to losses and wastefulness, while Thoa, who was banned from leaving her place of residence, has fled and is being pursued by the police.
Based on Clause 3, Article 219 of the 2015 Penal Code, Hoang and Dung would be sentenced to 10-20 years in prison.
The Ministry of Finance handed over the land lot to the State-run Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Company (Sabeco) to build its headquarters and a trade, service and office center. However, Hoang allowed Sabeco and three corporate shareholders – Attland Corporation, Ha An Investment, Trade and Service JSC and Me Linh Invest JSC – to set up Sabeco Pearl Investment JSC to carry out the Saigon Me Linh Tower project on the land lot.
Under Hoang’s and Thoa’s directives, Phan Dang Tuat, then board chairman of Sabeco, signed an official dispatch in 2015 asking the HCMC People’s Committee to allow Sabeco to transfer the rights to use the land lot to Sabeco Pearl and allow the latter to become the investor of the project.
In mid-2016, Sabeco divested its entire stake in Sabeco Pearl as it sold more than 14 million shares worth some VND195 billion (US$8 million) to the founding shareholders. The State Audit of Vietnam said Sabeco transferred the land at an “artificially low price” as each share was sold at VND13,347.
At present, the land lot is owned 100% by privately invested Me Linh Square Investment Corporation, which was formerly Sabeco Pearl.
According to auditors, the land use value of the lot was VND1,075 billion in 2015, VND2,505 billion in 2016 and is currently VND3,816 billion.