A court in Ho Chi Minh City has handed the death sentence to a former official who embezzled from a fund meant for compensation to people having to relocate for a major urban project in the southern metropolis 15 years ago.
Thi Danh, former head of a management board in charge of site clearance and compensation of Tan Phu District, received the verdict after a two-day court on Friday.
Nguyen Duy Linh, former chief accountant of the management board, was given 15 years, whereas three other co-accused in the case were handed jail terms between two and five years.
All of them were found guilty of embezzlement.
According to the indictment, Danh, born in 1957, was assigned to take charge of the compensation fund in 2003, when Tan Phu District was established.
The management board was tasked by the Tan Phu administration with overseeing several site clearance and relocation projects and allocating compensation for affected households.
However, the board was found with multiple violations of regulations in carrying out six of many projects it was assigned between November 2003 and January 2016, according to an inspection by the district administration in December 2015.
For instance, in the project meant to upgrade the Tan Hoa - Lo Gom Canal and the road running along it, Danh and his accomplices were found appropriating more than VND23 billion (US$1 million) from the compensation fund.
In the project to expand and upgrade the Luy Ban Bich Street, Danh used the money meant for recompense to two relocated households to open a savings account.
He later asked Linh to transfer VND450 million ($19,680) of the money to the account of the management board and embezzled it, keeping the remaining in the bank savings account.
In total, Danh, taking advantage of his managerial position, directed Linh to appropriate a total of VND54.1 billion ($2.36 million) from the fund.
Besides the death sentence, Friday’s court also ordered Danh and relevant individuals to return the embezzled money.
Danh alone is responsible for refunding VND41 billion ($1.79 million).