Vietnamese authorities are taking steps to withdraw a house and a land plot from a retired high-ranking official who has been found committing wrongdoings related to the state’s housing and land policies.
The retired official is Tran Van Truyen, 64, who is a former member of the Party Central Committee and the ex-chief of the Government Inspectorate. He retired in October 2011.
The withdrawal demand is shown in a press release issued on Friday by the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee’s Commission for Inspection, providing the conclusion on the origin of the properties alleged to be obtained through Truyen’s wrongdoings.
“During his office terms as a central and local official and after retiring, Truyen carried out many wrongdoings in the field of housing and land. He had made insincere statements on his personal properties and asked land and housing authorities to make property-related decisions in favor of himself or his relatives,” the commission said in the press release.
The commission also affirmed that Truyen prepared false reports and violated regulations on activities Party members are banned from doing, and that his wrongful acts have caused discontent among the public and undermined the reputation of himself and the Party.
The press release was issued following the conclusion of the commission at two meetings on October 2-3 and October 30 about Truyen’s property-related wrongdoings.
The meetings were convened after allegations surfaced, saying that the former chief government inspector perpetrated wrongful acts to obtain ownership of houses and land during his office terms and after he retired.
According to the conclusion, Truyen had committed a number of shortcomings and violations related to house and land ownership, and such infringements must be dealt with.
Following that conclusion, the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee released a document on November 11, directing the Department of Construction to withdraw a house owned by Truyen’s daughter at 105 Nguyen Trong Tuyen Street in Phu Nhuan District.
Truyen had asked to purchase this state house from the local government in March 2011, citing his family’s housing hardship, and the People’s Committee then sold it to him in the name of his daughter.
But the inspection commission found out at that time his daughter already owned a high-class apartment in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, while his wife was the owner of a house in the city’s District 9.
The department is thus coordinating with relevant agencies to carry out procedures to reclaim the house in accordance with existing regulations after the commission concluded that Truyen had not been honest about his housing circumstances.
The People’s Committee of the southern province of Ben Tre also said it had issued a decision dated November 19 to take back a land plot, at 598B5 Nguyen Thi Dinh Street in the provincial capital of Ben Tre City, which was granted to Truyen in 1992.
Vo Thanh Hao, chairman of the committee, said that he had signed the decision as a remedy for the mistakes made 12 years ago by the then-leaders of the province.
The central inspection commission ruled that the ex-chief government inspector knew he was not the right person to receive the plot when it was offered to him by the local military but he still took it.
Truyen also refused to hand it over to the provincial administration upon its request, the commission said, adding that he even managed to secure permission from the local construction department to build a makeshift warehouse on the land for his daughter-in-law to store beer.
All these actions indicated Truyen’s ill manners, the commission said.
Besides these properties in Ho Chi Minh City and Ben Tre, the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Inspection also clarified the origin of four other houses related to Truyen.
One of the four houses is a luxury villa in Son Dong Town, Ben Tre City.
According to the commission, Truyen reported that he spent VND11 billion (US$515,500), including a VND4 billion loan from a woman, building a 3-story villa with a total gross floor area of about 1,226m² in Son Dong in the name of his son, Tran Hoang Anh, in 2012.
The villa was built on a plot covering 16,567m² bought by Anh in 2009-2010.
The purchase of the land and the construction of the house were carried out legally, but the fact that Truyen constructed a luxury villa on a very large plot while the other people in the neighborhood are still poor is something that should not be done by Truyen as a Party member, according to the commission.
The second property is a 95m² state-owned house at 61 Tran Quang Dieu Street in Hanoi’s Dong Da District.
It was leased to Truyen in 2004 for use in his office term under a contract between the Central Finance and Administration Committee and the Government Office.
Truyen retired in October 2011, but not until early 2014, when property-related allegations against him first appeared, did he suggest returning the house to the state. In May, the Ministry of Construction took the house back from Truyen.
The third house is located at 6 Le Quy Don Street in Ward 1, Ben Tre City, which was sold to Truyen in 2003 under the state’s preferential policies after he made a commitment that he had yet to be granted any land or house by the state.
But in fact, he was already given a land lot at 598B5 Nguyen Thi Dinh Street in 1992.
This means Truyen was dishonest in reporting his property situation, according to the inspection commission.
The last house is situated at 465/48C in Phuoc Hau Quarter, Long Phuoc Commune, District 9, Ho Chi Minh City, which was given to Truyen in 2008 by Pham Kim Anh, a woman who inherited the house from her deceased mother.
After receiving the house, Truyen did not use it and he handed it over to Anh for management and got VND4 billion ($187,400) from her, which he spent on the above-mentioned villa in Ben Tre City for his son.