JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Hanoi procuracy suggests sentences, including capital punishment, for 54 defendants in rescue flight scandal

Hanoi procuracy suggests sentences, including capital punishment, for 54 defendants in rescue flight scandal

Tuesday, July 18, 2023, 11:19 GMT+7
Hanoi procuracy suggests sentences, including capital punishment, for 54 defendants in rescue flight scandal
Pham Trung Kien, former secretary of a deputy minister of health, at the court. Photo: Danh Trong / Tuoi Tre

The Hanoi People’s Procuracy on Monday suggested various sentences, including the death penalty, for 54 defendants who committed law violations during Vietnam’s arrangement of flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens stranded overseas amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the defendants, Pham Trung Kien, former secretary of a deputy minister of health, faces capital punishment for taking 253 bribes at a total value of over VND42 billion (US$1.8 million), the highest among the accused.

He earlier said at the trial that when he worked with investigators, and knew that he could be sentenced to death on bribe-taking charges, he was scared and obsessed with the highest punishment.

He also claimed to be admitted to Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi due to symptoms of mental illness.

The procuracy also proposed sentencing former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung to 12-13 years behind bars for receiving bribes totaling VND21.5 billion ($908,485).

Vu Anh Tuan, former officer of the Ministry of Public Security’s Immigration Department, and Hoang Van Hung, former investigator from the ministry, may stay behind bars for 19-20 years each for receiving bribes valued at VND27 billion ($1.1 million) and swindling to appropriate over VND18.8 million ($794.8), respectively.

Nguyen Thi Huong Lan (speaking), former head of the Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the court. Photo: Nam Anh / Tuoi Tre

Nguyen Thi Huong Lan (speaking), former head of the Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the court in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Anh / Tuoi Tre

Prosecutors also suggested a prison term of 18-19 years for Nguyen Thi Huong Lan, former head of the Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was accused of receiving bribes of over VND25 billion ($1.05 million).

Tran Minh Tuan, director of Hanoi-based Thai Hoa Construction JSC, faces a jail term of 15-17 years for appropriating nearly VND5.7 billion ($240,796) and giving bribes totaling nearly VND800 million ($33,821).

The procuracy suggested handing down prison terms of 9-12 years on four other defendants, including former deputy head of the Consular Department Do Hoang Tung; Tran Van Du, former deputy head of the Immigration Department; Nguyen Thi Thanh Hang, deputy general director of Blue Sky Trading, Services and Tourism Company in Hanoi; and Le Hong Son, general director of the company.

Sixteen other defendants may serve a jail term of 6-10 years each, while the 28 remaining defendants may stay in prison for five years or less.

Police officers take former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung (C) to the court in Hanoi. Photo: Danh Trong / Tuoi Tre

Police officers take former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung (C) to the court in Hanoi. Photo: Danh Trong / Tuoi Tre

According to the indictment, in early 2020, Vietnam closed itself off to the world in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The country organized nearly 2,000 flights during the COVID-19 pandemic to repatriate more than 200,000 Vietnamese nationals from 60 countries and territories, as commercial flights were not available during the period, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

During the process of licensing the flights and approving the quarantine plans in localities from September 2020 to December 2022, a number of officials from ministries and sectors as well as individuals from businesses, along with other people, committed law violations.

Of the 54 defendants standing trial, 21 are accused of taking bribes, while 23 are charged with giving bribes, four with brokering bribery, and four others with abusing positions and powers while on duty, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

One defendant was prosecuted for committing fraud for property appropriation and the other is accused of committing fraud for property appropriation and giving bribes.

The most high-ranking ex-officials facing charges are former Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs To Anh Dung and Vu Hong Nam.

The total amount of bribery money in this case reached $9.5 million, according to Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper.

The People’s Court of Hanoi launched the first-instance trial of the 54 defendants on Tuesday last week and is expected to finish it in a month.

The court on Monday morning suspended the trial for two hours so that the defendants could provide proof of their efforts to ease the consequences of their violations before the municipal People’s Procuracy proposed the sentences against them.

Like us on Facebook or  follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Thanh Ha / Tuoi Tre News

More

Read more

;

Photos

VIDEOS

‘Taste of Australia’ gala dinner held in Ho Chi Minh City after 2-year hiatus

Taste of Australia Gala Reception has returned to the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Vietnamese woman gives unconditional love to hundreds of adopted children

Despite her own immense hardship, she has taken in and cared for hundreds of orphans over the past three decades.

Latest news