Vietnamese official faces the music for abusing land-use laws

By Ba Do   October 23, 2017 | 02:12 am PT
Vietnamese official faces the music for abusing land-use laws
The villa complex, which belongs to the family of Yen Bai Province's environment chief, sits on what was agriculture land. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
The massive complex he and his wife built on farmland, plus the huge loans he failed to declare, have the wolves at the door of his villa.

Vietnamese officials have asked for the book to be thrown at the current environment chief of Yen Bai Province following an inspection that uncovered multiple land-use violations at a complex he developed on a massive plot that had been designated for farming.

The Government Inspectorate issued a report on Monday saying that Yen Bai's Director of Natural Resources and Environment Pham Sy Quy is responsible for multiple violations that also involve his wife Hoang Thi Hue.

The inspection was launched after media reports raised questions in June over his hillside complex that includes a villa, stilt houses, a pond and a garden in the provincial capital. The land in the picture had been designated as forest and agricultural land, which means residential use is restricted.

According to inspectors, Yen Bai Town approved Hue’s application to convert the use of the land in 2015 without specifying why it was justifiable. The decision clashed with several land management rules set by the provincial government at the time.

The town also granted Hue a license to use the land without charging her the standard fee.

Quy was deputy director and then director of the province’s environment department at the time.

Between August last year and February 2017, Hue collected fees from 14 local families who wanted to transfer the use of their land.

This was in breach of Vietnam's Law on Corruption as Quy had enabled his wife to do business in the jurisdiction he was charged with overseeing, the inspectors said.


Pham Sy Quy, director of Yen Bai Province's Environment and Natural Resources Department, listens to the results of an inspection into his violations at a meeting on Monday. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

He also violated regulations regarding asset declarations by failing to list a number of properties, including more than 7,900 square meters of residential land, more than 27,500 square meters of agricultural land and a 600-square-meter house.

He also neglected to mention bank loans worth more than VND9.1 billion ($400,480) and 60 ounces of gold that he owes to friends, the inspection found.

Quy's lack of transparency has raised questions and earned bad publicity for Vietnamese government officials, the report said.

“His violations deserve strict punishment,” it added.

The inspectors also asked the northern province to review the role officials in Yen Bai Town played regarding his family’s villa complex.

Yen Bai Province had planned to look into the matter internally, but turned the case over to the government due to the fact Quy's sister is the provincial Party chief.

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