Officials jailed for scam at Vietnam shipping company

By Ha An, Thanh Nien News

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Five former officials stood a trial in Hanoi for a scam at a subsidiary of the state-owned shipping giant Vinalines on February 28 / PHOTO: MAI HA
A Hanoi court handed sentences to five officials on Friday for forging documents in the purchase of old ships at a state shipping company to pocket money.
The city’s People’s Court sentenced Bui Quoc Anh, dismissed director general of Vinalines and director of Bien Dong Shipping Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned shipping giant Vinalines, to three years in prison for abuse of power.
Ngo Van Nhuan, dismissed deputy chief auditor of the State Audit Region No.7, received the same jail term for the same charge.
Do Thi Bich Thuy, dismissed deputy director general of Bien Dong, and Nguyen Thi Le Thuy, a dismissed cashier at the company, got 30 months and 24 months’ suspended sentences, respectively, also for abuse of power.
Meanwhile, Hoang Gia Hiep, dismissed director of Vinashin Finance Company (VFC), a subsidiary of the state-owned shipbuilding firm Vinashin, pleaded guilty to embezzlement. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
According to the indictment, in December 2005, Anh submitted to Vinashin a proposal to buy old ships to extend Bien Dong’s services and fleet.
The proposal got approved three months later with a total investment of over VND500 billion (US$23.55 million) for five ships, of which feasibility studies were assigned more than $94,000.
Anh signed a contract with Hiep to hire VFC as a consultant for the project.
They then hired Tan Minh Nguyet Ltd., Co. as a sub-consultant to conduct feasibility studies on the purchase of four ships. The contracts cost VND3.62 billion ($150,750).
However, investigators found that Tan Minh Nguyet was not licensed for such consultancy and all related documents were forged.
Nhuan, who facilitated the approval of the documents, was paid more than 31 percent of the fake contracts’ cost.
Anh ordered his subordinates -- Bich Thuy, who was then Bien Dong’s chief accountant and Le Thuy -- to pocket the rest and spend it on social gatherings with senior officials.
Prosecutors said Anh’s social gatherings cost his company nearly VND4.8 billion ($226,000).
Meanwhile, Hiep, through VFC’s fake contract with Tan Minh Nguyet, embezzled VND50 million ($2,300) from VFC, according to the indictment.
In August 2012, Hiep was sentenced to 13 years in prison for “intentionally violating state regulations on economic management.” He and eight other Vinashin officials were found guilty of causing losses of over VND910 billion ($42.86 million) to Vinashin.

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