Tran Minh Loi (second from left) (Photo: vietnamnet.vn)
Dak Nong (VNA) - The People’s Court of the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong has handed sentences to a whistleblower-turned-bribe-giver and seven others for taking bribes.

Accordingly, Tran Minh Loi, who owned the Facebook account Diet giac noi xam (Fighting against internal invaders)--focusing on fighting corruption--was sentenced four-and-a-half years for handing out bribes worth 90 million VND (4,000 USD).

Others involved in the case including Nguyen Xuan An, sentenced one year and nine days imprisonment (released in court for already finishing the sentence), Huynh Kim Cao Tri, sentenced one year imprisonment for bribing 60 million VND (nearly 2,700 USD).

Three defendants—Huynh Thi Cao Thuong, Truong Thi Lan and Nguyen Thi Ty --received nine months suspended for giving bribes of 60 million VND.

Lanh Thanh Binh, former police officer in Dak Mil district, was sentenced one-and-a-half years suspended on charges of taking advantage of his influence to seek personal benefits. The court also confiscated 90 million VND that the defendants had committed.

A defendant of another case related to Loi, Nguyen Van Phuc, former director of Dai Loc Transaction Office under Dak Lak Branch of the Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development, was sentenced two-and-a-half years for receiving bribes of 30 million VND from Loi in 2014. He was also barred from holding office for three years after imprisonment.

On March 22, the Dak Nong People’s Court issued the first-instance trial of the case.

According to indictments, the police of Dak Mil district caught six gamblers red-handed when they were playing the illegal xoc dia (a gambling with coins) on January 15 this year. After that, the relatives of the gamblers contacted Lieutenant Lanh Thanh Binh to ask for ways to free the gamblers from detainment.

After receiving Binh’s assistance, the gamblers’ family members--including Nguyen Xuan An, Huynh Kim Cao Tri, Huynh Cao Thi Thuong, Nguyen Thi Ty and Truong Thi Lan--contacted Tran Minh Loi, who was said to have many experiences in denouncing and reporting corruption in the Central Highlands. Loi guided those people to give money to Binh but insisted on filming the transaction.

An, Lan and Tri gave Binh 60 million VND at a café on January 21. All acts of taking and receiving money were recorded as evidence for Loi to accuse Binh of taking bribes.

However, after obtaining the evidence, Loi did not immediately report the case but used the evidence to threaten and force Binh to influence the investigative agency to release the detained gamblers and return money to their families.

When knowing that Loi was holding the evidence, Binh came to Loi to ask for pardon but was refused.

On February 24, Binh reported the receipt of 60 million VND to Dak Mil district Police and denounced Loi’s threatening.

Further investigations showed that in April 2014, because of wanting to borrow bank loans with low interest rates, Loi had contacted Nguyen Van Phuc, former Director of the Dai Loc Transaction Office, Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development in Dak Lak, and Nguyen Duc Trong, a bank staffer, to propose to a loan of 1.8 billion VND (about 80,000 USD). In return, Loi promised to offer 150 million VND (about 6,700 USD) if Phuc and Trong created conditions for the loan.-VNA