Dinh Van Minh, Deputy Director of the Government Institute for Science and Inspection, spoke to the newspaper Tien Phong (Vanguard) about possible changes to the 2005 Anti-Corruption Law.
The 2005 Anti-Corruption Law has been revised several times, but corruption is still a headache. In your opinion, what's the weakest point in the fight against corruption?
Revising the 2005 Anti-Corruption Law is on the agenda of National Assembly meetings for 2016. To prepare for the event, the Government Inspectorate has been consulting ministries and concerned agencies for suggestions on how to make the law more efficient.
In my opinion, the weakest point in our current fight against corruption is the settlement of corruption cases, the control of assets and transparency.
People want to know how corruption cases have been handled and how many assets have been recovered. In recent years, a few big corruption cases have been exposed and involving billions of dong, but the recovery of corrupt assets was small.
Do you think the amended Anti-Corruption Law will produce breakthroughs in the recovery of assets?
The weakest link in the recovery of assets is the concept. I should say it is too narrow. Under many foreign laws, assets originating from corruption must be recovered. However, in Viet Nam the definition of corruption assets is the assets of people having committed acts of corruption.
This definition requires the authorities to go through a long process, ranging from a long process of investigation and then a court for trial and further procedures. This often takes a long, long time and when the court hands down the final verdict, it is too late to recover the assets, as, in many cases, the fraudsters are broke.
In my opinion, this should be covered in the amendments of the 2005 Law on Anti-Corruption. In addition, the law should provide law enforcement officers tools to prevent people disbursing or hiding assets made corruptly. Investigation agencies or inspectorate agencies should be given the right to seal off suspect assets before the cases are brought to court.
Do you think what is written in our law about detection and settlement of corruption cases should be changed?
According to our Criminal Law, if you want to accuse someone of corruption or embezzlement, you must have evidence showing that person is committing an act of self-interest. But, in reality corrupt people are often smart.
This is a big challenge in the fight against corruption. That's why I believe that in the revision of the 2005 law on anti corruption, we should broaden the definition of corrupt assets and learn experiences from other countries.
Do you think the revised law should cover the issue of non-material corruption, such as accepting sexual bribery?
I can't agree more! The issue should be covered in both the Anti-Corruption Law and the Criminal Law. In reality, the 2005 Anti Corruption Law has already dealt with it and it is covered in the concept of "self-interest act". It covers both material and spiritual interest. However, under the Criminal Law, corruption cases are often interpreted only in terms of money.
Reality shows that bribery and corruption cases have become more sophisticated. Many are non material, but they can still provide big benefits. For example, secret information about a project or a land planning project can be extremely useful for land speculators. Payment is often in the form of sexual bribery or a big trip abroad. These ideas should be included in the revision of the Law on Anti Corruption and the Criminal Law. — VNS