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Former chief of Vietnam Coast Guard gets 16 years for embezzlement

Former chief of Vietnam Coast Guard gets 16 years for embezzlement

Friday, June 30, 2023, 18:42 GMT+7
Former chief of Vietnam Coast Guard gets 16 years for embezzlement
This image shows former Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Son, former commander of the Vietnam Coast Guard, at the trial for him and his accomplices on charges of embezzlement in Hanoi on June 29, 2023. Photo: Anh Phu / Tuoi Tre

A military court in Vietnam has given a 16-year jail term to a former Coast Guard commander for embezzlement in the case of siphoning off over US$2 million from the military procurement budget.

After three days of hearing, the Hanoi Military Court on Thursday announced sentences for Nguyen Van Son, 59, former lieutenant general and former Coast Guard commander, and his six accomplices in the case of embezzlement of VND50 billion ($2.1 million) that happened four years ago.

Besides Son with a 16-year verdict, former Lieutenant General Hoang Van Dong received a sentence of 15 years and six months, while three former major generals Doan Bao Quyet, Pham Kim Hau, and Bui Trung Dung got 15 years in prison each.

Dong was political commissar of the Coast Guard Command and Quyet was Dong’s deputy, while Hau and Dung were both deputy commanders of the force.

Two remaining defendants, former Senior Lieutenant Colonel Bui Van Hoe and former Colonel Nguyen Van Hung, were sentenced to 12 years and 10 years in jail, respectively.

All the seven defendants were found guilty of embezzlement and they were prohibited from holding management and leadership positions for 3-5 years after serving their sentences.

According to the indictment, the Ministry of National Defense allocated VND450 billion ($19 million) to the Coast Guard Command for its annual budget in February 2019, and the command then earmarked one-third of the amount to the Technical Department, headed by Hung, for purchasing equipment and materials.

Two months later, Son discussed with Dong, Quyet, Hau, and Dung a plan to appropriate VND50 billion from the grant allocated to the said department and all of them agreed to the plan.

Son directed Hoe, then deputy head of the Coast Guard’s Finance Department, to cut the maintenance and repair budget for four Coast Guard areas and hand over a total of VND29 billion ($1.2 million) from the cutdown to the technical department, raising the department’s budget to VND179 billion ($7.6 million).

In early May 2019, after signing a decision to officially allocate the total procurement budget of VND179 billion to the technical department, Son ordered Hung to deliver VND50 billion from the budget to the Coast Guard Command.

After Hung’s delivery of the sum, Son kept VND10 billion ($423,000) from it for himself and gave the same amount to each of Dong, Quyet, Hau, and Dung.  

All the embezzled money had been recovered from these five former generals before the hearing, the court said. 

The court’s judge described the case as “particularly serious” as the defendants blatantly violated financial management regulations and severely tarnished the image of the Coast Guard force.

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Vinh Tho - Danh Trong / Tuoi Tre News

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