Illegal issuance of land titles has emerged as an outstanding problem in Vientiane over the past year with the illegal titles involved in a total land area of 506,662 square metres, an official report has suggested.
The finding was discovered after authorities carried out inspections into the Vientiane Natural Resources and Environment Department, according to the report presented at last week's meeting of the Party Inspection Committee and State Inspection Department of Vientiane (PICSIDV).
The meeting, presided over by Chairman of the PICSIDV Latsanivong Amalathithada, was to review 2016 performance and outline next year's inspection plan of the organisation.
Some 34 officials were found involved in the illegal issuance process, which caused the loss of nine billion kip.
Mr Latsanivong told the Vientiane Times yesterday that the illegal issuances involved various cases and aspects but declined to give immediate details.
Over the past year, 107 petitions concerning land disputes were submitted to the relevant authorities calling for solutions including 21 petitions submitted previously that have not been resolved since 2015. However, 73 petitions were resolved while the remaining are still in the solution process with officials in charge currently collecting information.
In addition, four cases we re uncovered in which some village, district and city authorities conspired and acquired villages' land [state land] illegally totalling 107.16 hectares. The village authorities were also found selling villages' lands illegally amounting to more than 387 million kip and 1.65 million Thai baht. Mr Latsanivong stated that those officials involved in the wrongdoing would be penalised in line with the relevant laws and regulations.
Land issues have been an emerging problem across the country prompting the government to recently form and entrust a task force committee to inspect the issue.
The task force committee will inspect land concessions, transfer of land use rights in various cases, the implementation of the government's policy to turn assets into capital and the occupation of land by local people as well as occupation of people's lands, among other concerns.
Emerging land issues included illegal occupation of state lands such as lands in preservation forest areas and the illegal sale of state lands by state officials, government spokesman Prof. Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher said recently.
The findings will later be reported to the government by October before submitting the findings to the politburo of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the National Assembly to seek guidance and solutions. Last week's meeting of the PICSIDV also heard a report revealing that Vientiane authorities have seized more than 151 cubic metres of wood that were not documented after inspecting wood processing premises.
Additionally, more than 701 cubic metres of wood logged illegally from the national conservation forest of Phouphanang in Naxaithong and Sangthong districts were also seized. The findings and the seizure were the results of the implementation of the Prime Ministerial Order No 15 issued last year to impose tougher measures to regulate wood processing businesses in an attempt to address illegal logging.
Vientiane inspectors also uncovered 4.31 billion kip and US$24,829 lost as tax and customs officials embezzled the money. So far, only 434 million kip of this money has been secured back for the state.