Officials probed after over 700 villas, townhouses built without permit

By Phuoc Tuan   May 29, 2023 | 09:12 pm PT
Officials probed after over 700 villas, townhouses built without permit
Villas and houses at the abandoned Tan Thinh Residential Area project, April 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
Dong Nai Province authorities have launched an investigation into local officials' roles in the serial violation of regulations for a "smart" housing project, which has since been suspended.

Police in the southern province said Monday they are investigating possible abuse of power in allowing the Tan Thinh Residential Area project to go ahead.

Developed by the HCMC-based LDG Investment JSC, it was approved in 2018 with 488 villas and 290 townhouses to be built on 18 hectares on a hill in Trang Bom District.

In 2020, when construction was underway, provincial inspectors found multiple rules had been violated by the developers.

LDG Investment had not obtained a construction permit, paid the owners of the rubber farm on which the project was being built or even obtained official ownership of the land. Procedures to repurpose the farmlands into a residential area had not been completed.

The inspectors went on to conclude that more than 20 officials in Trang Bom District had committed violations to allow the developer to flout the regulations.

The Central Steering Committee on Prevention and Control of Corruption and Negative Phenomena then listed the case among those to be investigated last November.

Tan Thinh was marketed as "Vietnam’s first smart urban area" with a school, parks, supermarkets, and a medical center.

In the beginning it attracted doves of potential buyers from HCMC, Binh Duong Province and Hanoi.

The inspectors found LDG had signed contracts to sell 60 villas and houses, both completed and half-finished, for VND132 billion (US$5.64 million).

Seven of the villas are occupied, and the owners said they get water and power.

They are frequently visited by police officers investigating the case, they said.

After the inspections, Dong Nai fined the company VND540 million (US$23,100).

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