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Former trade minister’s sentence reduced by a year

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Hanoi People’s Court has reduced the 11-year jail sentence against former Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang to 10 years, following his appeal.

On January 24, the court accepted part of the appeals of Hoang and three other defendants who were found to have committed violations in a case at the Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Company (Sabeco), the local media reported.

Hoang at his first-instance trial was found to have violated regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness.

Besides Hoang, former head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Light Industry Department Phan Chi Dung saw his prison term cut from nine to eight years; former deputy director of the HCMC Department of Planning and Investment Lam Nguyen Khoi, from 4.5 years to four years; and former head of the HCMC Department of Planning and Investment’s Infrastructure Development Division Le Quang Minh, from 3.5 years to three years.

According to the court, the defendants’ violations infringed management regulations and caused serious losses for the State.

However, these defendants had no previous conviction and received many achievements and rewards while on duty.

Some defendants are old and are suffering from diseases, including fatal ones. For example, Hoang has prostate cancer.

In addition, they violated the regulations due to their lack of awareness of the consequences and not to make a profit.

The court also decided to assign the HCMC government to address a 6,000-square-meter land lot at 2-4-6 Hai Ba Trung Street in HCMC’s District 1 related to the court case.

According to the court’s verdict, Sabeco was assigned to manage the land lot.

Hoang, Dung and former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ho Thi Kim Thoa, the last named having taken flight, directed Sabeco to use the land use right and Sabeco’s capital to join hands with private firms to set up the Sabeco Pearl Investment JSC and carry out the Saigon Me Linh Tower project at the location.

After Sabeco completed procedures for the project and proposed the HCMC government allow it to add officetels and apartments to the project, the Ministry of Industry and Trade directed Sabeco to divest from the project.

Sabeco transferred the rights to use the land lot worth more than VND3.8 trillion to Sabeco Pearl, causing a loss of over VND2.7 trillion for the State.

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