Jail terms upheld for Son La officials involved in high school exam scandal

The Hanoi People’s Court on Friday decided to uphold jail terms given to four defendants involved in the high school exam cheating scandal in the northern mountainous province of Son La.

Defendants at the court hearing. (Photo: VNA/VNS)
Defendants at the court hearing. (Photo: VNA/VNS)
The four former provincial education officials filed appeals against their convictions from May this year, claiming that they did not give and receive bribes to adjust candidates’ scores.
After two days of the trial hearing, the appeals were denied because the four defendants “could not prove evidence showing their innocence,” according to the court.
Tran Xuan Yen, former deputy director of Son La Province Department of Education and Training, was sentenced to nine years in prison for abusing position and power. He was banned from performing official duties for five years and fined VND50 million (US$2,180).
Lo Van Huynh, former head of examination and quality management section of the Son La Education and Training Department, was given a jail term of 21 years for receiving bribes and abusing position and power.
Nguyen Minh Khoa, former deputy head of the Internal Political and Security Division of the provincial police, was sentenced to eight years in prison for giving bribes while Nguyen Thanh Nhan, former deputy head of examination and quality management section, was given a 30-month jail term and fined VND20 million ($870).
The defendants were found to have increased the exam scores of 44 students in the national high school examination held in June 2018.
Son La reported the country’s lowest average score of 4.21. However, the province’s number of students scoring nine or above out of 10 in mathematics and physics exceeded those in other localities.
Yen, as the province’s deputy head of steering committee for the national high school examination, received information on 13 candidates to alter their scores.
Yen composed a list of candidates and their desired scores then handed it to other officials to make adjustments.
Huynh received VND300 million ($13,000) to change the test scores of one candidate. Although Huynh denied having received VND1 billion ($43.5 million) from Nguyen Minh Khoa to increase the scores of two other candidates, the procuracy said they found evidence for the accusation.

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