Coast guard chief gets 16 years for embezzlement

By Thanh Lam   June 29, 2023 | 06:18 am PT
Coast guard chief gets 16 years for embezzlement
Former Coast Guard Commander Nguyen Van Son stands before the Hanoi Military Court on June 29, 2023. Photo by VNA
Former chief of the Vietnam Coast Guard, Commander Nguyen Van Son, was sentenced to 16 years in prison Thursday for embezzling VND50 billion (US$2.1 million).

Besides Son, Hoang Van Dong was sentenced to 15 years and six months in jail, the Hanoi Military Court announced following a three-day trial.

Doan Bao Quyet, Pham Kim Hau and Bui Trung Dung each got 15 years.

Bui Van Hoe got 12 years and Nguyen Van Hung got 10 years.

All sentences were for the crime of embezzlement.

Those sentenced were also banned from taking management and leadership positions for 3-5 years after completing their sentences.

In 2019, the Ministry of National Defense allocated VND450 billion to the Coast Guard for its annual budget.

A third of it was allotted directly to the Department of Technology to buy equipment and materials for the Coast Guard.

Son told Hung, head of the Department of Technology at the time, to hand over VND50 billion from the VND150 billion to the Coast Guard Command, and come up with a way to conceal the siphoning of funds.

Son then instructed Hoe, then the Coast Guard’s deputy of the finance, to scrap the maintenance and repair budget for four Coast Guard areas and hand over VND29 billion to the technology department, raising the department's budget to VND179 billion.

These extra funds would help hide the fact that the VND50 billion was about to go missing.

In April 2019, Son and four subordinates – Dong, Quyet, Hau and Dung – embezzling the VND50 billion and splitting it among them. Everyone agreed.

On Son’s orders, Hung asked six subordinates at his department to retain a total of VND50 billion that would be passed to Son at Coast Guard Command. Hung told his people that it was Son's order and that it "must be done."

Hung allegedly instructed the six subordinate divisions to each give up between VND50 million and VND25 billion from their own funds to achieve the sum ordered by Son.

To implement Hung's plan, the heads of six divisions under the technology department divided their budget into 29 bidding packages for equipment purchases.

They asked contractors to hike the prices of equipment. In order to win the bids, participating companies had to agree to the Coast Guard’s suggestions and work with the division heads to increase material and equipment prices or provide kickbacks.

From December 2019 to January 2020, the contractors transferred the money to the six division heads in cash. Hung then recollected the money to give to Son, who split the money between himself, Dong, Hau, Quyet and Dung.

In June 2020, Hau exposed the crime by sending a document to authorities along with two audio recordings detailing his and his colleagues' involvement in the embezzlement.

In September 2021, the five embezzlers willingly handed over VND10 billion each from the money they'd funneled out of the Coast Guard.

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