Saturday , December 10 2022

Hà Nội People’s Court starts appellate trial for 19 defendants related to Đà Nẵng-Quảng Ngãi Expressway project

Defendants at the appellate trial on Monday morning in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên

HÀ NỘI — The People’s Court of Hà Nội on Monday morning started an appellate trial for 19 defendants and related parties involved in violations at the Đà Nẵng-Quảng Ngãi Expressway project.

The trial panel is chaired by Judge Mai Anh Tài. The appellate trial is set to take place between Monday and Thursday.

More than 25 lawyers are representing the defendants.

The trial is to hear the appeal of the 19 defendants, the appeal of the civil plaintiff and that of parties with related interests and obligations.

At the end of 2021, the People’s Court of Hà Nội sentenced 36 defendants to be between two years suspended sentence to eight years and six months in prison for violating regulations on construction investment, causing serious consequences.

The project was invested by the State-owned Việt Nam Expressway Corporation (VEC) with a total length of nearly 140km. The first section of the expressway, running from Đà Nẵng City to Tam Kỳ City of Quảng Nam Province, is 65km long and the second section of the expressway, from Tam Kỳ City of Quảng Nam Province to Quảng Ngãi Province, is over 74km long.

The project started in 2013 and under the first phase of the project, the 65km first section of the project was put into operation in September 2018.

The section was found to have sustained damage after 14 months of operation, seriously affecting the safety of road users.

Under the investigation, all seven bidding packages in the first phase of the project did not meet the technical standards and project design requirements.

Other materials used in the construction of the project failed to meet quality standards.

However, the investor and related units of the project still carried out testing and paid more than VNĐ811 billion (US$34.9 billion) to construction units.

In the case, defendant Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, former deputy general director of VEC, was found to have failed to inspect and control construction quality.

Many items were not checked in accordance with regulations, while the quality of the work did not meet the requirements, but Hùng still signed the payment documents.

Defendant Nguyễn Quang Hào, other former deputy general director of VEC, did not comply with technical standards and the project’s design requirements. Hào also ordered the construction of items of the project, but did not check and control the quality.

The expressway’s total cost came to upwards of VNĐ34.5 trillion ($1.64 billion), including $798.5 million in loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and over $590 million from the World Bank (WB), with the remainder sourced from the Vietnamese Government’s budget. — VNS

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