Government Inspector General Huynh Phong Tranh talks with Tuoi Tre (Youth) about how to make asset declarations more effective to combat corruption.
Why have asset declaration by state officials not been effective so far in the fight against corruption despite it being globally viewed as a key measure to do so?
The reason was that the implementation of such an asset declaration requirement was yet to be taken seriously while we were at the same time short of legal guidelines. For example, the law by now hasn't clearly regulated how we would deal with assets of which the origins failed to be clarified.
The number of subjects who have to declare their assets according to the law reached more than one million people - too many, in my opinion, for any agency to check and monitor.
Such a number should be narrowed down for better management – in some countries it was only 25,000 or even 10,000 people – while the agency in charge will only supervise the income of the rest of the officials on a regular basis who don't need to file asset declarations.
How do you explain that many localities including Ha Noi and HCM City could not detect a single corruption case in the first nine months of 2015?
Such information has been misleading which threw the public into confusion. In fact, the Ha Noi Inspectorate found seven cases of suspected criminal acts in the first nine months of last year while HCM City spotted four. Yet it still needs further investigation before we can conclude those are corruption cases. Saying that Ha Noi and HCM City inspectorates failed to unveil corruption was therefore somewhat baseless.
However, we have to acknowledge that corruption detection is still a weak phase in the anti-corruption fight. In 2015, we noticed that the inspectorate forces of seven localities couldn't find any cases of suspected crimes.
You once said that there were signs of corruption in some fields in a report before the National Assembly. Could you be more specific on this?
The most notable sign of corruption is the involvement of a number of individuals working in various state agencies who became accomplices to embezzle state money and assets. Inspections in state banks in 2015 reported signs of corruption in the banks' activities. Some trials recently involved two embezzlement cases of Agribank with a dozen individuals who caused losses worth trillions of dong clearly demonstrated such a kind of corruption.
Is it possible that the trust of residents and enterprises in the government have been eroded which has made them less inclined to report signs of corruption?
The ineffective handling of corruption complaints might very well be one of the reasons why residents and enterprises hesitate to file reports to the authorities. It also might come from a lack of protection for the complaint filers which made them afraid and scared of revenge.
We clearly see a need to pay more attention to the handling of corruption complaints as well as creating a protection mechanism for the complaint filers to encourage residents and enterprises for a more effective fight against corruption. — VNS