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Former chairman of Khanh Hoa province: ‘I was wrong because of my feelings’

Mr. Nguyen Chien Thang admitted that he was emotional when signing the contract to assign land to the enterprise for a project that was illegal and inconsistent with the land use plan.

On April 5, the trial of Mr. Nguyen Chien Thang, 67 years old; Le Duc Vinh, 57 years old (two former chairman of Khanh Hoa People’s Committee) and 5 former leaders of the department on crime Violation of regulations on land management Continue with the interrogation.

As the person with the highest responsibility, Mr. Thang is accused of signing many documents while in office, directing to increase the project area. Spiritual ecology Cuu Long Son Tu for Khanh Hoa Construction and Production Company Limited (Khanh Hoa Company) from 123 ha to 513 ha while the enterprise has not yet been granted an investment certificate. The adjustment to increase the wrong area is planning, contrary to the land use plan, leading to the breaking of the plan Nine Khuc mountain area.

Former Chairman Nguyen Chien Thang.  Photo: Phu Khanh

Former Chairman Nguyen Chien Thang. Photo: Phu Khanh

As the first person to be questioned in the trial yesterday, Mr. Thang admitted he was wrong and had “feelings” when he assigned 513 hectares of land to expand the villa and eco-tourism project to Khanh Hoa Company. , including non-agricultural production land and rural land.

More specifically, Mr. Thang said that at that time, he believed in the advisory body of the Department of Planning and Investment and especially the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DONRE), so when he signed documents without “knowing it was a violation”. offense”. But this is only wrong about the order of signing, not to the level of criminal liability. Because when he was in office, every day the office signed about 50-100 documents, so the defendant could not check them all. Therefore, the decision on land allocation where there is an initials, he signed because “if you read all the documents, it will take 45 days and it will not be completed”.

“I don’t blame the departments, but I trust my subordinates to advise and trust the report of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. This is my fault, I am responsible”, Mr. Thang said, adding that “When I signed, I didn’t know I was wrong, until I worked with the investigative agency to realize it”.

Regarding the undecided collection of land use levy from the enterprise, the defendant explained that the land in the area handed over to the enterprise is barren hilly and rocky land, so when the enterprise asks to keep it, it is a job. very precious. Initially, the defendant had an opinion on exemption from land use levy, when the Tax Department wrote that there was no legal basis for exemption, he assigned the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to work with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. tax, then advise the Provincial People’s Committee.

Based on this advice, Mr. Thang held a meeting with relevant departments. Because there are many different opinions, he concluded that the tax has not been collected, wait for the instructions of his superiors and then continue to calculate. “But then I retired. Later on the tax exemption agencies I found myself irrelevant,” the defendant said.

Mr. Le Mong Diep answered the jury.  Photo: Phu Khanh

Mr. Le Mong Diep answered the jury. Photo: Phu Khanh

Responding to the jury, about knowing that the land in the project is a production forest planning, but signed for the enterprise to build a residential area for sale, lease or lease-purchase, Mr. Thang said, when the investor proposed to move The purpose of using 7,500 m2 of residential land itself is not for real estate business, because this area is too small compared to the total area of ​​land for afforestation and spiritual tourism. “Before that, I also signed for the conversion of some forest land in the North Hon Ong or Co Tien mountains into rural land, mainly for businesses to rent and sell something,” the defendant presented and said. that this project is mainly afforestation, forest protection and development combined with spiritual tourism, not with the intention of “selling plots and plots”.

After being interrogated, Mr. Le Mong Diep, former director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said he was “quite sad and disappointed” about Mr. Thang’s testimony when he said that the main responsibility rests with the advisory body, which is the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. .

According to defendant Diep, the purpose of the above project is to protect forests and serve ecology, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment only implements the project process, and the previous consulting unit is the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. village. This Department has appraised the basic design of afforestation, land type… and recorded it as “conforming with the land use planning”, the defendant’s unit only advised and drafted documents on administrative procedures. main.

“When signing the advisory reports, the defendant followed the direction of the Provincial People’s Committee”, Mr. Diep declared, and said that if the land use master plan and plan was applied at that time, it would be necessary to give the enterprise an area of ​​land. non-agricultural production facilities are not correct.

However, he admitted that he had advised the type of non-agricultural land for eco-tourism so that the state could collect taxes (the proportion of this land in the project is about 1% of the total area). “At that time, I realized that I did the right thing, so I gave advice, but if I knew it was wrong, I would definitely not do it,” Diep said and asked the jury to consider reducing the penalty.

In this case, Mr. Le Duc Vinh and former officials of the department were identified and signed to allow Khanh Hoa Company to change the use purpose of 196,194 m2 from production forest land to residential land and land for public purposes. to do the project Vinh Trung mountain river villa.

These decisions on land allocation violate the law on land management and land allocation without determining the amount of land use levy collection or land allocation in the field before the investor fulfills financial obligations; land allocation or change of land use purpose in violation of land use master plans and plans.

In 2019, after being found guilty, the investor returned 370 hectares of land to regenerate and restore the forest environment. The current status of the project land has been structurally converted into production forest land in accordance with the planning. Therefore, the case does not determine material damage.

Today, the People’s Court of Khanh Hoa province continues to question Mr. Vinh and other defendants.

Phong Dien – Phu Khanh

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