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​Vietnamese official fined over $24k for villa construction violations, late tax payment

Sunday, December 03, 2017, 15:18 GMT+7

An official has been fined over US$24,000 for violations in the construction of his villa complex in northern Vietnam and failure to pay tax on time.  

The People’s Committee in Yen Bai Province on Saturday submitted a document to the prime minister and government inspectorate to report on a decision regarding the villa complex of Pham Sy Quy, former director of the province’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Quy was fined VND507 million ($22,336) for multiple offenses, including going against the building permit and carrying out some constructions without formal permission from competent agencies, Ta Van Long, vice-chairman of the Yen Bai administration, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

He was also required to pay an additional VND50 million ($2,202) for late tax payment, Long added.

Quy is, however, allowed to keep the status quo of his imposing residence, the vice-chairman noted.

“In order to reach the decision, the administration had consulted the Ministry of Transport and some other agencies. Based on their feedback and current regulations, the administrative fines were given appropriately,” Long elaborated.

In late October, Quy was stripped of his post as head of the provincial environment department as a punishment over his failure to fully declare his assets.

He was then transferred to the position of a deputy head of the Yen Bai People’s Council Office.

The official made headlines in June after his family was found owning a 1.3 hectare villa complex in Yen Bai City, which is the provincial capital.

The official claimed that he had borrowed about VND20 billion ($887,000) in bank loans, another sum from friends, worked side jobs, and saved since he was young in order to build the property. 

Pham Sy Quy listens to the announcement of the Government Inspectorate on his punishment in late October 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Pham Sy Quy listens to the announcement of the Government Inspectorate on his punishment in late October 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre

According to the results of a four-month investigation by the Government Inspectorate, Quy had not declared several portions of his assets since 2014, in violation of Directive No. 33 of the Politburo.

In Vietnam, officials are required to write down a list of assets they own in their profiles.

The inspection also revealed several violations regarding the construction of the villa complex.

Alongside the penalty for Quy, the Yen Bai People’s Committee also mentioned the punishment for 14 other individuals, namely officials and public servants at the tax department and other offices in Yen Bai City, for being involved in the violations.

Tran Xuan Thuy, chairman of the Yen Bai City People’s Committee and his deputy, Nguyen Yen Hien, were previously reprimanded for allowing the wrongful construction to continue at Quy’s villa complex.

The base salary of a public servant in Vietnam now sits at VND1.3 million ($57) a month.

Allowances for duty, ranking, seniority, positions, and others will be added when a civil servant’s pay is calculated on the basis of their salary bracket, governed by the government.

Many working in the public sector say they make ends meet with such salaries.

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