The People’s District Court in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho yesterday ordered the Binh An Fisheries Joint Stock Company (Bianfishco) to reimburse VND18 billion (nearly US$900,000) to two fish farmers from Thot Not District.
Nguyen Van Lien and Pham Thi Mai, both farmers from Thot Not District in Can Tho City had sued the company for defaulting on payment owed to them.
The O Mon District People's Court ruled in favour of both the farmers who said delayed payment by the company had forced a heavy bank interest burden on them.
According to the law suit, Lien and Mai had signed several contracts to sell Tra fish to the company since April last year, for processing and export to the US market.
After studying payment transactions between the company and the two farmers, judge Nguyen Phi Hung ordered the company to pay Mai VND15.68 billion plus interest of VND2 billion, while Lien would be paid VND467 million.
The Binh An Fishery Joint Stock Company, which has been exposed as having a huge pile up of debts, has announced that it plans to reimburse farmers and clear all its debts by selling its properties.
Pham Thi Dieu Hien, Chairwoman of the company, had left the country when the company's financial problems were unveiled. She claims she is in Singapore for medical treatment.
She left Vietnam right after organising a lavish wedding for her son. She said that the wedding was deliberately ostentatious, at an estimated expenditure of VND5 billion (US$238,000), to show people she was not in debt.
Her husband Tran Van Tri, who was appointed acting director of the company in her absence, is said to be trying to resolve the problems. Lawyers have argued that the appointment cannot be deemed legal without the consent of the company's management board.
The company owes local farmers about VND264 billion ($12.6 million) in total and is trying to make partial payments to some farmers, according to local reports.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has asked the People's Committee of Can Tho City to investigate Bianfishco's debts and operations. He has also ordered the city administration to propose solutions to resolve the issue and send a report to the Government before March 25.
Bianfishco's debts are said to have climbed to trillions of dong, with interest also mounting to nearly VND1 billion (US$ 50,000) per day since the last three years.