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The battle to end corruption needs more legal ammunition

Update: October, 01/2013 - 09:51

In October the National Assembly will discuss how to make the fight against corruption more effective, Le Nhu Tien, Vice Chairman of the NA Committee on Culture, Education, Youth and Children told Tien Phong newspaper.

At the 21st meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee, deputies agreed that in our country corruption is rampant in all aspects of life. They described it as "an internal enemy." How do you respond to such a conclusion?

Many citizens have said during meetings with their National Assembly representatives that they are not satisfied with the ongoing fight against corruption.

In the past, we often blamed the ineffectiveness of the fight on the lack of legal documents or the incompleteness of the system. But now our legal system has been consolidated.

Anti-corruption offices have been established from the central down to the grass roots level, and we have inspection, investigation and auditing agencies working side by side with anti corruption offices.

Most significantly, the Party Central Committee Home Affairs Commission has been established alongside Home Affairs Commissions in all 63 provinces and cities nation-wide.

In other words, we can say all forces are ready for the fight!

Transparency is key in the fight against corruption. Information disclosure is imperative so that people know what is going on. They are a very important force in the fight against corruption.

But why is corruption still rampant in all corners of the country, particularly in the economic field?

I have to admit that our investment is very fragmented and not very effective. I also feel that we have not hit the enemy where it hurts.

National Assembly deputy Duong Trung Quoc once said, "We have engaged in the fight against the internal enemy –corrupt people – but our bullets seem to miss their targets."

Many major corruption cases like those of Vinashin and Vinalines have still not been settled, eroding the people's confidence in the Party and Government's resolve to curb corruption and restore law and order.

In 2012, 73 corruption cases were detected, but only three cases were brought to criminal courts, according to a government report. What's your response?

Under our anti-corruption law, the head of an office has to take responsibility for any corruption cases that occur in his or her office. However, in reality many of them have cast off their responsibility and escaped from punishment.

Psychologically speaking, many top leaders don't want to air their dirty laundry in public. That's why, when a corruption case is detected in an office, the head of the office tries to expose it to the public rather than taking personal responsibility. This is one of the factors making our fight against corruption difficult.

Many corruption cases have been detected by inspectors. However, only a few cases have been transferred to investigative agencies. What's your response?

As far as I know, in the past few years, more than 64,000 inspection missions were conducted nation-wide, but only 464 cases were transferred to investigative agencies - accounting for 0.6 per cent of all the cases.

In the first months of 2013, 73 corruption cases involving 80 people were detected. But only 11 cases were transferred to investigative offices.

Based on these figures, I can say there is a tendency to apply administrative (sanctions) to corruption cases, such as reprimanding guilty individuals or transferring them to other work.

In more serious cases, individuals were brought to court for trial, but they received such light sentences. The heaviest punishment was a suspended sentence. That's why Nguyen Sinh Hung, NA Chairman, asked, "Is there corruption within the anti-corruption offices?" That question is still open.

Under the anti-corruption law, all public employees have to declare their income and assets. In 2012, more than 113,000 people made their first declarations, more than 519,000 revised their previous declarations and only three declarations were verified as correct. What are your comments?

Such a declaration is only a formality. People are asked to declare their assets and incomes, yet their declarations are put in the office filing cabinet.

If there is no information disclosure, asset and income declarations will not make any difference. People could easily write anything they wanted.

If we really want to use asset and income declaration as a bullet to fire at the enemy (i.e. corrupt individuals), the declarations must be posted publicly. — VNS


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