Pham Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Internal Affairs Commission, spoke to Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) about the Party's plan to tackle corruption.
Do you have any comments on the recent arrest of Giang Kim Dat, former acting sales manager of Vinashin Ocean Shipping?
Giang Kim Dat was arrested on a charge of embezzlement of US$18.6 million. While in office, Dat successfully and illegally transferred a huge amount of money abroad. I hope the case will help us recover these stolen assets. In my opinion, to retrieve the money is an effective statement that we will never give up the fight against corruption.
What hurdles are there to recovering corruption money?
Recovering Vietnamese corruption money from abroad remains a difficult issue. To solve this problem, we need mutual assistance treaties signed between Viet Nam and countries where the money landed.
Luckily, Viet Nam is a signatory of the UN Convention against Corruption, so I don't see any problems in retrieving Dat's assets in Singapore. Furthermore, Interpol and Singapore have promised to help us solve the case.
Transferring assets to close relatives is a common tactic. Are there measures to prevent such things?
Currently we don't have any specific statistics or studies on this issue. But this is a rather common phenomenon. Corrupt people, particularly people in high positions, rarely put their names on illegal transfers. For example, Dat's properties in Singapore were registered in his family members' names.
But, in the fight against corruption, we must think twice before making decisions to avoid wrongful convictions.
Would you agree that, despite Viet Nam's several policies controlling government officials' income, there are still loopholes?
I absolutely agree. Under current laws, government officials have to declare all their income and assets. Yet, in reality, loopholes remain in practice. In my opinion, information disclosure, transparency and accountability in Viet Nam are not well-heeded. This is a big reason behind why many people successfully snatch big sums of public money for their own benefit.
Preparations for local Party Congresses are underway. Have there been any issues with vetting candidates standing for party positions?
In the run up to Party Congresses, or any important political event in Viet Nam, the Internal Affairs Commission, the Inspection Commission and the Organisation Commission of the Party Central Committee receive many petitions, denunciations and phone calls from citizens accusing candidate A, B or C of corruption or of embezzling big sums of money.
Of course, when these organisations receive such information, they will have to check and make sure the information is correct before sending it to the Political Bureau. — VNS