Former HCMC party chief faces disciplinary action for urban planning violations

By Hoang Thuy   January 8, 2020 | 03:16 am PT
Former HCMC party chief faces disciplinary action for urban planning violations
Ho Chi Minh City's former party chief Le Thanh Hai attends a conference in the city in 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
A former Party Secretary of HCMC is deemed to have committed violations meriting disciplinary action in planning the Thu Thiem urban area.

Le Thanh Hai, 69, and several other former officials, including Le Hoang Quan, former deputy chief of the city’s party unit for the 2010-2015 term, committed several violations in planning the Thu Thiem Urban Area in HCMC’s District 2.

Hai, who served as Secretary of the HCMC Party Committee from 2005 to 2015, and former member of the Politburo, has to take main responsibility for the violations, the Party Central Inspection Committee, Vietnam’s top watchdog, announced at a Wednesday meeting.

Violations around compensation and resettlement in Thu Thiem have made headlines in the country since 2018.

It reached its climax in May 2018 when residents lodged their complaints with tears and frustration at a meeting with the city's legislators, which went on late into the night.

The Thu Thiem New Urban Area is envisaged as one of the biggest international financial and commercial centers in Southeast Asia.

To develop the megaproject, HCMC spent 10 years relocating 15,000 households, paying out nearly VND30 trillion ($1.32 billion) in compensation.

However, the project has been caught up in a relocation scandal as more than 100 affected families said their houses were not included in the demolition list according to the original planning map drawn up in 1996 and approved by the prime minister.

According to the party inspectors, the Standing Committee of HCMC Party under the leadership of Hai had violated the principle of democratic centralism and working regulations, broken working regulations, and been irresponsible and negligent in leading, managing, inspecting and supervising, resulting in serious mistakes in the planning of Thu Thiem area.

The violations committed by Hai and the others had spoiled the Communist Party’s reputation, caused public distress and significant losses to the state, and negatively impacted on socio-economic development, including the lives of citizens in the planned area.

The violations, therefore, deserve disciplinary action, the inspectors said.

The meeting also heard the committee suggest that the Politburo disciplines Hanoi's Party Secretary and former Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai (2007-2016) for several violations in overseeing the expansion of state-owned steel company TISCO.

The standing Party Committee of the Vietnam Steel Corporation was irresponsible and lacked supervision in its leadership, which led to the firm committing serious violations in a project to expand production by the Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel Joint Stock Company or TISCO (the TISCO II project), inspectors concluded last December.

The violations caused "very serious consequences" and "seriously damaged the financial position and properties of the state," they said.

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