AN GIANG — The People’s Court of the southern province of An Giang on September 28 opened the first hearing into a case that involves 51 defendants, 34 of whom were customs officials in the province.
Lê Thị Chi, 38, from An Phú District, and 17 accomplices are accused of “swindling to appropriate assets” and “trading receipts”, while the 34 former customs officials were charged for “abusing position and power when performing their duties”.
According to the indictment, from May 2011 to March 2013, Chi and 10 accomplices used the names of three companies that she had established to illegally buy value-added tax (VAT) receipts from other domestic enterprises, pretending they were making export products. They then offered bribes to customs official and border guards at An Giang Province’s Khánh Bình Border Gate to certify their documents proving the products were exported to two Cambodian enterprises.
All activities were aimed to make use of the State policy to refund VAT for export products. By this, they managed to appropriate nearly VNĐ42 billion (US$1.84 million) in tax refunds from the State budget.
Seven defendants are charged with selling more than 2,300 VAT receipts which were either fake or contained incorrect information to help Chi and her accomplices complete VAT refund applications. The total amount of money claimed in these receipts amounted to nearly VNĐ444 billion ($19.5 million).
The 34 former customs officials of Khánh Bình Border Gate Customs Branch are accused of abusing their position, for their own benefit, in certifying the product export documents from Chi’s companies despite knowing they were fraudulent.
The indictment also found that the crimes were systematically organised, committed many times and caused serious consequences.
The trial is expected to last for one month.