Four gov't officials arrested for skimming money from bauxite project

TN News

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Lam Dong police have arrested four government officials and nine residents on accusations of falsifying documents to obtain compensation under the Tan Rai bauxite project.


The four officials are: Hoang Cong Soi, Nguyen Duy Hung, Phan Van Trieu and Luu Minh Hung of the Lam Dong Land Fund Development Center, an agency under the provincial administration in charge of managing state land and compensation to land taken from residents in major projects.


The four officials are facing charges of abusing power to appropriate property while the nine residents are being investigated for fraud.


According to Colonel Chu Dinh Thuc, chief investigator for the agency that looks into financial management at government offices, Lam Dong had announced in 2006 that it would take land from residents for the bauxite project.


Farmers displaced by the project would receive higher compensation than other residents for vocational training and seeking other jobs.


Thuc said the arrestees got residents from other places to buy land there in 2009 and 2010 but falsified documents to grant land titles with 1999 and 2000 as the time of transfer.


This was to show that they had cultivated land in the affected area for several years to receive the higher compensation.


The 13 detainees had appropriated more than VND19.5 billion (US$928,130) from the provincial Land Fund Development Center, he said.


Each resident hired to get the land title was paid between VND10 million and VND20 million.


Police are investigating the case further to see if more people were involved in the scam.

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