Abuse of power: former Hanoi chairman jailed for 8 years

By Thanh Lam, Pham Du   December 13, 2021 | 01:03 am PT
Abuse of power: former Hanoi chairman jailed for 8 years
Former Hanoi chairman Nguyen Duc Chung stands before the Hanoi People's Court, December 13, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Hoa
Former Hanoi chairman Nguyen Duc Chung was sentenced to eight years in jail Monday for letting his family company purchase a water cleaning agent before selling it to the city.

The Hanoi People's Court found Chung guilty of "abuse of power or position in performance of official duties."

Vo Tien Hung, former general director of the state-owned Hanoi Sewage and Water Drainage Company, was setenced to four years, and Nguyen Truong Giang, director of the Arktic Company, to four and a half years, on the same charges.

Combined with a previous jail sentence he received for appropriating classified documents in 2020, Chung has been sentenced to 13 years in jail in total.

Throughout his trial, Chung maintained he was not guilty of the charges levied against him. He said he did not order the Hanoi drainage company to purchase Redoxy-3C, a water cleaning agent, through the Arktic company. All he wanted was that Hanoi's lakes and rivers have clean water, he said. Before Redoxy-3C was used trialled, Hanoi had never used its budget for cleansing a large number of water bodies.

Regarding the accusation that he let his family company purchase the water cleaning agent, Chung said he had never asked Giang for any gain from the purchase deal. He also denied that Arktic was a "family company." He said the accusation has defamed him and his family unjustly.

Vo Tien Hung, meanwhile, did not deny the charges against him. Instead, he asserted that everything he did was how it should have been done, with no intention of making any undue gain. He said there were "mistakes" in the prosecutors' claims that the sale was illegal.

Nguyen Truong Giang said that while he did own the Arktic company on paper, he has no stake in it. He said he did everything that Chung and his wife, Nguyen Thi Truc Chi, asked him to. All the company operations, including the sale of Redoxy-3C to Hanoi authorities, were done on Chung's orders, he said.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors maintained that Chung had abused his power as Hanoi chairman to allow a family concern, the Arktic company, to purchase the water cleaning agent Redoxy-3C for use in the capital city's lakes and rivers.

Giang was allowed by Chung to be involved in the issue as a city official, prosecutors said.

The Redoxy-3C agent was originally ordered on request by Hanoi authorities, but was later exclusively distributed via the Arktic company.

The prosecutors charged that from 2016 to 2019, under Chung's orders, Arktic imported over 489,000 kg of Redoxy-3C for more than VND115 billion ($5 million). The company later resold the agent to the Hanoi Sewage and Water Drainage Company for VND151 billion.

The sale cost Hanoi VND36.1 billion, the prosecutors said.

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