HCMC – The People’s Court of HCMC on November 19 sentenced former Vice Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Tai to five years in prison for violating regulations involving a land lot at 57 Cao Thang Street that was exchanged for the land lot at 185 Hai Ba Trung Street in the city.
Eight accomplices of Tai received jail terms of between three and four years and a half. They were charged with a “lack of responsibility, causing serious consequences”.
Duong Thi Bach Diep, director of the Diep Bach Duong Real Estate Co., was sentenced to life imprisonment for “fraud and appropriation of assets”.
According to the indictment, the State-owned 185 Hai Ba Trung land lot was where the headquarters of the Light Music Center under the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism was located. In 2007, the center’s then director Vy Nhat Tao contacted Diep to cooperate in upgrading the headquarters.
Diep proposed exchanging her land lot at 57 Cao Thang Street for the 185 Hai Ba Trung land lot. Diep said she planned to develop a five-star hotel complex at 179-181-183-185 Hai Ba Trung Street.
The property swap was approved by Nguyen Thanh Tai. During the process, Diep used the land use right certificate for 57 Cao Thang as collateral to borrow money from Agribank – HCMC branch.
After being granted a land right use certificate for the property at 185 Hai Ba Trung, Diep did not use it to replace the collateral at Agribank to hand over the property at 57 Cao Thang to the Light Music Center, as committed. Instead, she used the 185 Hai Ba Trung land lot as collateral for a loan at the Southern Bank and could not repay the debt.
The indictment stated that Tai permitted the property swap but was not responsible for handling and reorganizing State assets.
On March 5, 2010, Tai signed a document to relevant units approving the exchange of the two land lots, without any request to check and clarify the legal status of the 57 Cao Thang land lot, causing losses of State assets.
The other defendants showed a lack of responsibility in carrying out their duty, thus facilitating Diep’s fraud and appropriation of State assets.