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Anti-corruption measures not strict enough to curb violations

Update: November, 08/2013 - 08:48
Deputy Le Nhu Tien from central Quang Tri Province said official efforts had yet to meet voters' expectations.— VNA/VNS Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — Most lawmakers agreed the number of corruption cases brought before the public's eye was merely a drop in the ocean, and current anti-corruption measures were not strict enough to serve as effective deterrents.

National Assembly deputies continued their work yesterday to discuss the prevention and fight against violations and crimes.

Examining anti-corruption work yesterday, Deputy Le Nhu Tien from central Quang Tri Province said official efforts had yet to meet voters' expectations.

While anti-corruption agencies spanned from central to grassroots levels, the press and ordinary citizens had uncovered most corruption cases, he said.

There is growing concern about the fight against corruption among National Assembly deputies

He raised concerns regarding the increasing reluctance of whistle blowers to raise their voices. The negligence of authorities and delayed action on reported cases left them vulnerable to reprisals and discouraged their peers, Tien said.

The Central Steering Board for Corruption Prevention and Control has asked ranking officials from State organisations to declare their property assets, but this was a token gesture with no oversight.

Viet Nam's Law on Anti-Corruption ostensibly demonstrates a strong political commitment to combating its malaise, but enforcement does not reflect this.

Tien compared anti-corruption failures to the non-performing loans in commercial banks, a "bad debt" betraying people's trust in the Government until it was properly addressed.

He suggested establishing a new criminal corruption investigation agency under the Central Steering Board for Corruption Prevention and Control, endowed with the necessary authority to act effectively – even within the anti-corruption apparatus itself.

Echoing Tien's view, Deputy Huynh Nghia from Da Nang wondered whether anti-corruption forces hid corrupt behaviour. He also agreed with the need for an anti-corruption task force under either the National Assembly or the Central Steering Board.

The task force, equipped with powerful tools and professional staff, would help root out major corruption cases as quickly as possible to restore people's trust in the regime, said Nghia.

Southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province Deputy Nguyen Van Hien stressed that State-invested projects must be scrutinised to identify wrongdoing and eliminate waste and appropriation from key construction projects.

"If we tackle corruption effectively, we do not need to raise Government spending, nor issue more government bonds," he said.

Southern Tra Vinh Province Deputy Nguyen Thi Kha labelled corruption a national crime, saying prevention was better than cure. She recommended identifying the root causes of corruption and focusing on removing those initial motivations.

Concerning environmental violations, Deputy Le Thi Nga from northern Thai Nguyen Province said they had become more sophisticated and were at an alarming level. She noted that many cases had been found recently of industrial waste and untreated water being discharged into the environment.

Nga attributed the situation to the loose implementation of environmental protection laws that were not strictly followed by State officials or employees in charge of environmental protection.

She noted that loose management and light administrative penalties were also the reason for many environmental violations.

Concerning the increase in national crime that was having a negative impact on society and international integration, Deputy Luu Thi Huyen from northern Ninh Binh Province said that State management agencies had failed to find any loopholes in State policies or laws.

Criminal sanctions for young offenders remained weak and were not strong enough to dissuade them and prevent rising crime, she added.

Most deputies said that the initiative should be taken to provide enough equipment for task forces to effectively fight and prevent crime.

In the afternoon session, the National Assembly Law Committee approved the Prime Minister's proposal to increase the number of deputy prime ministers from the current four to five.

The decision was announced during a meeting presided over by Chairman Phan Trung Ly.

At the meeting, Deputy PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc presented the Prime Minister's proposal which explained the need to have one more deputy PM. The new deputy PM would also take the role of Foreign Minister, the document said. — VNS

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