Sixteen officials in northern Vietnam, including high-ranking ones, have been prosecuted for their violations in the site clearance and resultant compensation related to the building of the country’s largest hydroelectric plant.
They are charged with deliberate breaches of state regulations on economic management and lack of responsibility, the People’s Procuracy of the northern province of Son La said in a statement.
The wrongdoings led to grave consequences, according to prosecutors.
Amongst the sixteen officials are Trieu Ngoc Hoan, director of the Son La Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Phan Tien Dien, the department’s deputy director, and Truong Tan Dung, deputy director of the provincial Department of Finance.
A local man named Deo Van Ban is also implicated in the case for giving bribes.
Vietnam completed the 2,400-megawatt Son La hydropower plant in late 2012, with extensive relocation and resettlement having taken place a decade earlier.
In 2014, Truong Tan Dung, the then-deputy chairman of the province’s Muong La District, was tasked with monitoring land measurement and mapping the affected areas so that recompense for the displaced households could be paid.
But Dung violated regulations during the process, and this was chiefly seen in the case of a villager named Deo Van Ban.
|Police search the house of Deo Van Ban in Son La Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Ban clandestinely asked measurement officials to increase the recorded area of the affected land that he owned on promises that he shared with them the discrepancy, according to prosecutors.
As a result Ban received over VND1.2 billion (US$51,600), more than what he was expected to obtain.
Dung’s misconduct is the immediate cause of incorrect measurement and mapping, the Son La People’s Procuracy stressed.
The department’s deputy director Phan Tien Dien, another deputy chairman of Muong La at the time, knew full well that the compensation documents prepared by Dung were wrong but he signed them without reporting the problem to the higher-level authorities.
|Trieu Ngoc Hoan, director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Son La Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Trieu Ngoc Hoan, as head of the environment department, was charged with serious negligence for failing to examine the figures and documents on the mapping for veracity before he gave official approval for the compensation, the procuracy added.