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​Ho Chi Minh City’s deputy Party chief linked to illicit land sale by state firm

Wednesday, June 06, 2018, 17:45 GMT+7

The plot of land was agreed to be sold at a cheap price instead of being auctioned to find the highest bidder

The Party Committee of Ho Chi Minh City has found one of its deputy secretaries having overstepped his power in approving an illegal land sale by a state-owned company that could have resulted in a major loss of state property.

Tat Thanh Cang, standing deputy secretary of the city’s Party organ, is involved in the land sale between Tan Thuan Investment and Construction Co. Ltd., which is wholly owned by the Office of the municipal Party Committee, and private company Quoc Cuong Gia Lai.

In June 2017 Cang gave the green light to Tan Thuan Co. to sell a 32.5-hectare land plot in Phuoc Kien Commune in the outer district of Nha Be to Quoc Cuong Gia Lai for VND1.29 million (US$56.7) per square meter, which is much cheaper than the market price.

According to government decrees dictating the sale of land by state-owned companies, open auctions must be held to find the highest bidder to ensure maximum profit from the transaction, in cases similar to this.

The sale was approved shortly after the piece of land had become a state property, with local residents already receiving compensation to relocate elsewhere.

Neither the municipal Party Committee’s standing committee nor its Office that directly oversees Tan Thuan Co. was made aware of such a land sale, as Cang never reported his approval to these entities, according to inspection results.

But the Tan Thuan – Quoc Cuong Gia Lai deal never went through, as the city’s Party Committee discovered the agreement to have the land transferred via a non-auction sale in December 2017, and immediately ordered all land transfer proceedings to halt for an inspection.

On Sunday, the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee announced its findings after the months-long inspection, which found Cang and leaders of Tan Thuan Co. to blame for the illicit land sale.

Cang had overstepped his power by approving the loss-making land sale without first reporting to the Party Committee, according to the inspection conclusion.

He also failed to perform necessary reviews of how the deal was actually enacted between the two companies involved in the sale, after having given his in-principle approval to Tan Thuan Co.

Cang is therefore asked to compile a self-review of his responsibilities in the land sale and submit it to his governing body for further consideration.

Tran Cong Thien, general director of Tan Thuan Co., has been suspended from work as a comprehensive probe into the firm is set to be launched later this month.

Despite such signs of violation, Party inspectors say there has been no evidence so far to suggest deliberate wrongdoings for personal gain.



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