The Hai Phong Municipal People’s Court sentenced four former transport inspectors to hefty prison terms for falsifying 688 citations to pocket a total of VND1.36 billion (US$63,880).
Bui Manh Tuan, former head of the transport inspection team No. 5, got the heaviest punishment: six and a half years in prison.
His subordinates, Vu Hoang Tung got four and a half years, Luu Tuan Duong got three years and Pham Hong Khang got 18 months imprisonment, all for the crime of “abuse of power in the execution of duty.”
Tuan, Tung and Duong were fined a total of VND60 million.
Meanwhile, Dinh Viet Hung, former chief inspector of Hai Phong Transport Department, was sentenced to 15 months probation for his role in the case. He was also prohibited from holding a government position for a year after the conclusion of his probationary period.
According to the verdict, Tuan and his subordinate falsified the citations between 2011 and 2012.
During their trial, the defendants admitted to fining drivers of overloaded trucks, then retroactively lowering the fines reflected on the actual citations and pocketing the difference.
The drivers each paid the officers between VND2.5 and 4 million.
Then, the three men doctored the tickets to reflect the fact that they'd collected just VND250,000 in each case.
Government inspectors began looking into the scheme after a number of truck drivers complained that they hadn't received tickets after paying their fines.
The defendants returned a total of VND1.3 billion during the course of the investigation.