Trial for ex-minister Vu Huy Hoang, accomplices postponed hinh anh 1Defendant Vu Huy Hoang arrives at the court on January 7 morning before the trial is postponed (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The first-instance trial for ex-Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and nine accomplices, slated for January 7, was postponed due to the absence of three defendants and many people with related interests and obligations.

The jury at the Hanoi People’s Court asked relevant agencies to ensure all defendants and related people will be present once the trial is re-opened.

Hoang, born in 1953, and Phan Chi Dung, born in 1957 and the former Director of the Light Industry Department at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), faced a charge of “violating regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness”.

The eight other defendants, who are former HCM City officials, including Nguyen Huu Tin, born in 1957 and the former Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee, were accused of “violating regulations on land management”.

Tin and two others who are former officials of HCM City were absence from the trial on January 7.

According to the indictment from the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the Saigon Beer - Alcohol - Beverage JSC (Sabeco), which is under the MoIT’s management, was given 6,080 sq.m of land in Ben Nghe ward of HCM City’s District 1 for non-agricultural production and business purposes.

However, Hoang, former Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa, and Dung directed subordinates at the ministry and Sabeco to carry out procedures for using land use rights and Sabeco's money as capital contributions to set up Sabeco Pearl, a joint venture between the firm and a number of private enterprises, to implement a project building a hotel, a trade and convention centre, and office space for lease on the land.

After Sabeco completed legal procedures for the joint venture’s investment and proposed the HCM City People’s Committee approve the addition of officetel and housing functions to this project, the MoIT ordered the company to transfer all of Sabeco's stake in this project to the private enterprises in the joint venture.

As a result, the right to manage and use the land, which is a State asset and worth over 3.816 trillion VND, was illegally transferred to private firms, causing a “particularly big” loss of over 2.713 trillion VND (118 million USD) to the State, according to the indictment.

Another of the accused, Ho Thi Kim Thoa, has fled, and the investigation police agency has put her on the wanted list./.