Environment chief sent to jail for stealing from Swedish project

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The former head of a provincial environmental management department was sentenced in jail Friday for embezzling money from a Swedish funded project. Nine of his subordinates were also punished.

Nguyen Kim Phuc, former director of Phu Yen Department of Natural Resources and Environment in south-central Vietnam, and nine other officials were found guilty of misusing more than VND432 million (US$20,725) from a project mostly funded by the Swedish government as part of a management training program in the province between 2007 and 2009, Tuoi Tre reported.

Phuc was sentenced to 3 years in prison, the highest penalty dealt to any of the accused.

The nine subordinates received punishments between two-year suspended sentences and two-and-a-half-year jail terms. The department's former chief accountant Ha Truong Truc, 53, and former chief of staff Nguyen Van Mau, 46, received the jail sentences.

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The defendants and 17 other people who were officials at the department at the time the crime was committed were ordered to return the misused money to the state budget.

Phuc, 54, did not attend the trial on Friday, citing health problems.

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