Vietnam investigates state forestry firm for corruption

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A deputy prime minister has ordered an investigation into accusations that a state-owned company has illegally exploited and given away forest land for development.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will undertake the investigation into Vinafor La Nga Company and will have to release its conclusions by June 20, according to a report by Vietnam News Agency (VNA) on Tuesday. The report quoted the order issued by Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai.

The order came after the company's director Nguyen Thanh Cong, and the company's vice director Nguyen Thanh Lam were suspended on May 21 as the accusations of mismanagement and corruption went public.

According to a VNA report on May 19, Vinafor La Nga was given more than 23,000 hectares of forest land, including over 19,000 hectares at the head of the Dong Nai River in the southern province of the same name, for management and production. 

The report said that between 1995 and 2011 the company,which is a subsidiary of the Vietnam Forest Corporation (Vinafor Vietnam), illegally assigned 196 hectares to local households. Subsequent development of that land by those households severely damaged the forests, according to the report.

The company also exploited forest land in areas that it was not licensed to exploit.

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