Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

One trillion kip in state assets misappropriated in past year

Vientiane Times, March 16, 2018

Over 1 trillion kip was siphoned off last year in the implementation of development projects through the violation of laws and financial disciplines by government bodies and the private sector.
The Party Central Committee’s Inspection Committee revealed the losses at its annual meeting held this week in Vientiane.
Thirty-seven ministries and agencies, 17 provinces and Vientiane were subjected to inspections in the past year, with 578 targets scrutinised.
Around 100 of the targets were inspected following the annual inspection regime, while 382 were inspected following specific orders, and another 32 targets were inspected following audit results. Some 63 of the targets were inspected in line with measures to monitor investment projects from their inception.
It was found that 1.3 trillion kip, about 11 million Thai baht, US$4.8 million, and 20 million Vietnamese dong was lost as a result of the targets’ misappropriations.
However, 770 billion kip, 950,000 baht, US$1.2 million, and 20 million dong has since been recovered.
The committee reported that many development projects complied with the laws and regulations, while some other projects had not fully applied for authorisation and others artificially inflated their costs.
Authorities in some provinces carried out unauthorised projects. Many project developers did not accurately calculate the compensation to be awarded for the appropriation of local people’s land, while others did not respect the rules on calculating project reserve funds, expenses for consultants, and project surveys and design.
Some 180 projects were undertaken from 2013 to 2015 without approval from the National Assembly, and the Inspection Committee has inspected 86 of these.
Of the 86 projects, 21 were inspected last year, 28 of which the committee identified as being in the “F” category.
An additional 291 billion kip was found in unlawful tax exemptions on imports and exports on top of the authorised 2.4 trillion kip in exemptions last year.
The Inspection Committee also revealed that more than 260 billion kip had been lost as some government agencies and authorities engaged in land-swap deals with private interests without proper assessment.
Some district and village authorities have sold government-owned land, community land, and land belonging to temples on a combined area of 670 hectares, which caused the loss of 12 billion kip in state property.
The inspections also uncovered more than 2,700 cubic metres and another 22 tonnes of timber related to illegal deals, with 595 people involved in the offences, of whom 50 were government officials, 182 were businesspeople, and 363 were local residents.
The committee has also investigated 146 cases of corruption with 994 people involved in dishonest behaviour, of which 908 were government officials and 86 were businesspeople.
Further investigations are being conducted into 420 people with administrative measures handed out against 414. Now 84 of these are being prosecuted with case briefs submitted on 62 people to the prosecutor, and the court has sentenced 14 individuals.

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