Vietnam city authorities indicted for land 'violations' seek Party intervention

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The Da Nang authorities, indicted by inspectors for wrongdoing related to land administration, has decided to take its complaint against them to the Politburo after the government dismissed it, Phap luat TPHCM (Ho Chi Minh City Law) has reported.

Tran Tho, deputy secretary of the city Party unit, revealed this after the inspectors refused to budge from their conclusion that there had been "violations" leading to losses of VND3.43 trillion (US$164 million) between 2003 and 2011.

The administration has been ordered to recoup the losses from "violating projects," while chairpersons and deputy chairpersons during the period would be disciplined, the inspectors said.

Nguyen Ba Thanh, chief of the central Party Committee's Interior Commission tasked with fighting corruption and a Politburo member, was chairman of the Da Nang People's Committee in 2003.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Anh Tuan was in the post from 2004 to 2006.

Nguyen Duc Hanh, deputy chief of the Inspectorate, told Phap Luat TPHCM: "It is the final conclusions of the government and Da Nang should follow the orders."

In January Vu Duc Dam, the government spokesman, had said the inspectorate's findings would not be reviewed despite the city authorities' claim they were "incorrect," "groundless," and "improper."

The authorities said they had complied with the law and the alleged violations were actually legal incentives provided by the city to encourage investment.

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Following inspections of 46 projects, the inspectors said there had been violations like failure to administer lands after transferring them to investors resulting in many of the investors reselling the lands at higher prices instead of following through with investments as promised.

Other violations included failure to collect the designated land-use fees and giving 10 percent discounts to land users who paid the rental within 60 days of getting the lands, with the latter causing losses of VND1.3 trillion ($62.42 million).

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