Do Chi Thanh, former director of Phu Bai International Airport in Thua Thien-Hue Province, north-central Vietnam, on Sunday was sentenced to 15 years and six months behind bars for receiving bribes between 2017 and 2020.
The Thua Thien Hue People’s Court also handed down the same prison term on Tran Xuan Long, former chief of the office and accountant of the airport.
In addition, Le Van Loc, former deputy director of the airport, and Le Quoc Cuong, former head of the airport’s aviation security division, got respective jail terms of nine and 2.5 yeras.
Phung Tuan Duong, another former deputy director of the airport, will be put on probation for three years.
All were charged with taking bribes.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Hien, director of Hoang Phu Thinh Joint Stock Company, the operator of Vang taxis, and Nguyen Tien Duong, director of Thanh Cong Hue Taxi Joint Stock Company, the operator of Thanh Cong taxis, were each sentenced to seven years in jail for giving bribes.
Also sentenced were Ly Dieu Thanh, chief accountant of Hoang Phu Thinh Joint Stock Company, and Tran Dinh Hai, deputy director of the company, who were subject to three-year and two-and-a-half-year probation, respectively.
According to the indictment, Phu Bai International Airport was given permission to choose enterprises that could provide taxi services at the airport through tenders.
On September 7, 2017, Do Chi Thanh established a tender team including Le Van Loc, Tran Xuan Long, and Le Quoc Cuong.
Thanh later issued regulations on the selection of taxi operators permitted to work at the airport.
In particular, three taxi operators would be accepted and given 12 parking slots for taxis and a lot to pick up passengers at the airport.
In late September 2017, the airport held tenders and Hoang Phu Thinh Joint Stock Company and Thanh Cong Hue Taxi Joint Stock Company won with a winning price of VND505 million (US$21,443) and VND180 million ($7,643), respectively, per month.
Under the regulations, the two firms had to pay VND342 million ($14,520) per month, the average of the two winning prices.
After the tenders, Duong, director of Thanh Cong Hue Taxi Joint Stock Company, met Tran Xuan Long and begged him to reduce the price, saying that the company would find it hard to offer taxi services at the airport for a long time if it had to pay such a high fee.
Do Chi Thanh and Tran Xuan Long agreed to reduce the monthly fee to VND285 million ($12,136) for Hoang Phu Thinh Joint Stock Company and VND200 million ($8,491) for Thanh Cong Hue Taxi Joint Stock Company.
However, the fee stated in official contracts between the airport and the two taxi firms was only VND120 million ($5,094) per month. The remaining amounts would be given to Tran Xuan Long, who would share with other leaders of the airport.
The directors of the two taxi firms agreed to the deal despite acknowledging that the act was illegal.
Between October 2017 and December 2020, Thanh and Long received bribes worth nearly VND6.3 billion ($268,275) from the two taxi operators.
Thanh also agreed to provide each taxi firm with an additional 12 parking lots and one pick-up slot to receive an additional VND12 million ($511) per month.
The defendants’ violations caused losses of over VND12 billion ($511,220) to the state-run Airports Corporation of Vietnam.