The Supreme People’s Court on Thursday annulled all ten verdicts announced by the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court in the hearing of former chairman of Hoc Mon District People’s Committee, Nguyen Van Khoe, and his accomplices.
Nguyen Van Khoe at the appeal hearing in HCMC on June 16 Photo: Tuoi Tre
At the appeal hearing held yesterday in HCM City, the Supreme Court ruled that the case had to be reinvestigated.
Many issues related to the case needed to be confirmed, the Supreme People’s Court said.
In August last year, the HCMC Court opened the first-instance trial for Khoa and 9 others.
Khoe was given a total of 26 years in prison for three charges: taking bribes, abusing power and leveraging his influence to get illegal benefits.
After the court handed down 10 sentences, four of the accused appealed for a commutation. However, as their criminal acts were closely related to the six others, the Supreme Court annulled all the 10 sentences pending a fresh investigation.
According to the indictment from the prosecutors’ office, Khoe took a bribe of VND1.4 billion ($73,000) from Tran Thi Ha, former director of HCMC-based Thanh Phat Company. In return, he helped to get her property project in the district’s Dong Thanh Commune ratified.
He was also charged with receiving another bribe of VND780 million ($40,000), also related to the project, from Thanh Phat.
Nguyen Van Khoe was escorted to the courtroom for the first-instance trial in HCMC last August
While the Court concurred that Khoe had received VND1.4 billion as a bribe, it said the charge that Khoe took another bribe of VND780 million from Thanh Phat needed to be verified, because there was insufficient evidence to support it.
According to the City Court, after the project had been approved, Ha and Tran Van Hoa, her husband, used the land under the project as mortgage at the Cho Lon Branch of the Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (Agribank) to borrow 3,000 taels of gold ($5.5 million) and VND18 billion ($876,000), all of which they appropriated for personal use.
However, the Supreme Court said there was evidence that Ha had spent VND33 billion [of the bank loan] on compensation for people affected by their project and paying loan interest and fees for land use right transfer related to their projects.
The Supreme Court said a fresh investigation should be made to determine that how much money from the Agribank loan Ha and Hoa had used to develop their project.
Hoa declared he stepped down from the management board of Thanh Phat before his wife applied for the Agribank loan. Therefore, it is necessary to confirm whether he was one of Ha’s accomplices, the Court ruled.
Tran Thi Ha, former director of HCMC-based Thanh Phat Company, was sentenced to life in prison at the first-instance trial in HCMC last year
Ha and Hoa were each given a life sentence for swindling and giving bribes.
As part of the first instance verdict, the judgment on civil compensation responsibilities of the defendants has violated the civil procedure, the Supreme Court said.
That the City Court ordered Ha and Hoa to pay compensation to Agribank’s branch by submitting VND18 billion and 3,000 taels of gold to the State budget was unlawful, since the branch had not claimed such damages, the Supreme Court said.
The Supreme Court also requested a re-investigation into the allegations against some other defendants in the case, including Luu Thi Thanh Hien, deputy director of the Agribank’s Cho Lon branch.
Hien was sentenced to 10 years in jail for violating credit regulations.