Gov't refuses to review stirring findings about city's violations

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Despite the objections of city authorities, the government has ruled out the possibility that it will review the state inspectors' conclusion on the central city of Da Nang's land management violations.

Vu Duc Dam, chief of the government's office, made the statement at a government press conference on Tuesday, when asked if the Prime Minister will order the conclusion to be verified, after Da Nang leaders criticized them as "incorrect," "groundless," and "unusual" in the press. 

He said the current law on inspection and related regulations did not mention the notion of "reviewing" the conclusions of government inspectors.

"The inspection at Da Nang was normal and legal, and the announcement of its findings was also in accordance with laws," Dam said.

Moreover, the government has approved the conclusions and has ordered the Da Nang People's Committee together with the ministries of finance, planning and public security, to act to handle the violations' consequences, he said.

The agencies need to follow the PM's order and report on what they have done so far, the spokesman said. "In the future, if any of the agencies proposes reconsideration, the PM will consider it and give his opinions."

Dam also said that the government learned of the reaction of Da Nang authorities through the press.

He said that out of its willingness to listen to others' opinions and a "sense of responsibility," the government has asked the inspectorate to report on local press coverage.

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Earlier, the government inspectors concluded that the Da Nang People's Committee committed several violations in land management between 2003 and 2011, leading to losses of VND3.43 trillion (US$164 million) to the state budget.

They had investigated 46 of 1,061 projects in the city, which has been praised for its rapid growth and has been receiving high rankings from the Vietnam Provincial Competitiveness Index since 2005.

According to the inspectors, the violations included a failure to manage lands after transferring them to investors, many of whom were allowed to resell land at higher prices, as opposed to following through with investments as promised.

Others violations included the incorrect implementation of land usage fees for several projects, making some cheaper than the listed prices issued annually by the city.

They also slammed Da Nang authorities for giving 10 percent discounts to land users when they made full rent payments within 60 days of being issued lands, saying that the regulation caused the budget losses of VND1.3 trillion ($62.42 million).

However, in interviews with the press, city officials said they conformed to laws and the alleged violations were actually legal incentives provided by the city aimed at encouraging investment and had been instituted on behalf of the people.

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