Information on disciplining 66 wrongdoers at the Thu Thiem New Urban Area project, was said by Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong, chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee at the meeting with voters in District 1 in the evening of July 1.
Mr. Nguyen Thanh Phong also said that some officials controlled by the party’s Secretariat were disciplined during the first phase, while 66 officials were reviewed and considered for punishment in the second phase, including officials from the city’s departments and Thu Thiem New Urban Area Management Board over periods.
Answering RFA related to this issue, lawyer Nguyen Van Hau, chairman of the Vietnam Arbitration Center, said:
“Administratively, the party’s Central Inspection Committee recently also concluded that the leaders of the city in the previous term must be responsible before the law, and then have to be punished. This has also been concluded by the Government Inspectorate, but now based on the provisions of law these state officials must be punished for their wrongdoings.”
However, Chairman Phong, when speaking to District 1 voters, did not mention the handling of offenders and how to compensate for the damage to the people affected by the violations of such officials. He said only that he would report the handling results to the Central Inspection Committee this July.
Talking to Radio Free Asia on July 2, 2020, Mr. Cao Thang Ca, a land petitioner in Thu Thiem, said that land petitioners in Thu Thiem have no hope when the authorities decide to discipline 66 officials just mentioned:
“When they discipline these 66 officials, the land petitioners in Thu Thiem did not have any hope, because the violators who have committed serious wrongdoings in the case have not been punished while discipline only those who committed lighter wrongdoings. As for those who cause serious consequences, they remain untouched and their names are Le Thanh Hai, Tat Thanh Cang and Nguyen Van Dua. And these disciplined 66 officials were just subordinates of the main violators. Our people have lost our faith.”
Also at the meeting with voters, Phong also said that the city has set up a task force to implement the inspection results of the Government Inspectorate, submiting to the city’s People’s Council its plan for additional compensation policies and contact with 334 households in 4.39ha in Quarter 1, Binh An Ward, District 2.
Concerning this issue, land petitioner Ca continued:
“State officials solve the problem regarding the parcel of 4.3 hectares, however, they get the wrong one and fix the other one, take the stolen land to give to the land petitioners from other places so how they can solve it? The government should have the responsibility to suspend the settlement of this complaint because it is a clear and serious violation. It is still based on the 1997 decision to recover the land to compensate for the 4.3-hectare area, which is illegal.”
Another land petitioner in Thu Thiem, pastor Nguyen Hong Quang, told RFA that the mistake of Thu Thiem was too terrible to destroy people’s property, destroy, eliminate schools, and even police headquarters … beyond the planning boundaries, so the national assets were ruined. According to him, it should arrest many state officials for serious criminal charges. Instead, they just warned and disciplined the violators and imprisoned some low-ranking officials. He continued:
“In short, we have not seen any genuine move from the authorities in settling thousands of complaints about the land seizure and wrong compensation policies such as a compensation of VND150/ m2, but after that, they sell at VND500 million/m2, more than 3,000 times … Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said it was unreasonable, but they did not adjust the compensation policy. We also told the National Assembly and the People’s Council to issue a compensation policy of 930 hectares for the Thu Thiem people, not just 4.3 hectares. People are also annoyed. In the inspection conclusion, there are more than 5 out-of-town neighborhoods, ie nearly 4,000 households, not just 331 households in 4.39 hectares.”
According to Pastor Quang, the government has not yet focused on settling complaints of the people, but just flanking the fringe, wanting the public to forget the case while property developlers are still building houses and promoting subdivisions. The government has not yet conducted dialogues with the harsh content of people petitioning from local to central. According to him, the government has not really paid attention to the issue of people ‘s lawsuit.
Nguyen Dinh De, also a land petitioner of Thu Thiem, told RFA what he and most of the people of Thu Thiem wanted:
“If they want to solve this problem, the government has to give us resettlement land. This is a real need, and the government should not discuss it with one plan or the other … We don’t need alternatives. Return the land to us or give us land for resettlement. That’s what we need. ”
So far, the government has only announced compensation plans for households of 4.3 ha outside the planning area of Thu Thiem New Urban Area.
On June 11, 2020, the authorities started classifying each case among more than 300 households in this area, applying the principle of compensation. This is the policy approved by the city People’s Committee, in compensation, support and additional resettlement for households whose land is recovered in the 4.3 ha area in Quarter 1, Binh An Ward, District 2.
Specifically, the land with legal papers will be allocated equivalent land; undocumented land which was stably used before October 15, 1993 shall be allocated with the same area but not exceeding 200 m2.
For houses owned by the State, but people using stably, are assigned new residential land at the conversion rate of 60%. In other cases, depending on the case, the land can be converted at the rate of 20% to 50%.
In addition, according to the city’s People’s Committee, households in the 4.3 ha area are also compensated for houses, constructions and other architectural objects on the land; crops, crops … supporting stable living; cost of relocation .. damage due to suspension of production and business …
Going back to the discipline of 66 officials who were wrongly considered at the Thu Thiem New Urban Area project, Mr. Ca added:
“The key people who caused the wrong in Thu Thiem did not follow the party’s policy, trampling the law, and despising the people. In our opinion these people are particularly serious violations, having to be arrested and their all assets to be confiscated due to their corruption acts. State officials causing damage to the state hundreds of thousands of billion dongs, but what they cause the state to lose the most is their faith, the people do not believe anymore, our people only have disdain and hatred for those this person.”
Thu Thiem New Urban Area is a new urban development project on Thu Thiem peninsula, in District 2 opposite District 1 across the Saigon River. The city’s government has cleared Thu Thiem since 2002 to serve this project, causing about 15,000 households to be relocated. The people of Thu Thiem have repeatedly appealed from the city to the central level, receiving many promises from the leaders. Especially those outside the 4.3 hectare area.