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Vietnam’s former deputy defense minister given four-year jail term over land issues

Friday, May 22, 2020, 21:54 GMT+7
Vietnam’s former deputy defense minister given four-year jail term over land issues
Nguyen Van Hien, ex-Deputy Minister of National Defense, is seen in this file photo.

A military court in Vietnam on Thursday sentenced a former deputy defense minister to four years in prison for his ‘lack of responsibility’ in land management, leading to the government losing over US$40 million.

The Navy’s Court found Nguyen Van Hien, ex-Deputy Minister of National Defense, guilty in a scandal in which he signed documents to allow private companies to lease three prime land plots in Ho Chi Minh City from the naval force, according to court documents.

The plots, managed by the Navy, are located at No. 2, 7-9, and 9-11 on Ton Duc Thang Street in District 1.

Hien was commander of the Navy when he approved the land deals.

His ‘lack of responsibility’ in approving the deals eventually led to the Navy losing control of the three land plots, causing the government to suffer a loss of over VND393 billion ($40.3 million), the court concluded.

The military court also condemned four other military officers to 4-9 years in jail for their roles in the scandal.

In mid-May, Hien was expelled from the Communist Party of Vietnam over his wrongdoings in the case.

Last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc decided to strip Hien of his past title of commander of the Navy as an initial punishment for his violations.

Hien, 66, was deputy defense minister from 2009 to 2016.

He was voted as a member of the National Assembly’s security and national defense committee in 2011.

He was trained at a missile school in Azerbaijan.

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