HA NOI – Policemen, soldiers, relevant officials and international partners gathered in the capital city for the final evaluation report of an anti-money laundering project on Tuesday.
Anti-money laundering process in Viet Nam
2005: Decree No74/ 2005/ND-CP issued to prevent and combat money laundering.
2009: Amendment to Article 251 on the Penal Code, which defined money laundering as a crime.
2009: National Steering Committee on anti money laundering set up, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister.
2012: Waiting for the Laws on anti money laundering to be passed by the National Assembly.
The project, named "Strengthening of the Legal and Law Enforcement Institutions in Preventing and Combating Money Laundering in Viet Nam", started in 2007, aimed at boosting the capacity of government law enforcement, prosecution and other criminal justice institutions, as well as civil society responses to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute cases of money laundering in line with international standards, said Tran Van Thanh, project co-ordinator.
The co-ordinator also said the US$1.25 million project executed by the United Nations on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) had been implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Justice, Supreme People's Prosecution Office, Supreme People's Court, Customs General Department, Border Guard and the State Bank of Viet Nam.
Zhuldyz Akisheva, country manager of UNODC Viet Nam thought that the project, the first of its kind in Viet Nam, was a success with the combined support of international and domestic partners.
In more detail, co-ordinator Thanh listed the tasks that had been undertaken during the project, such as preparing national anti-money laundering strategies; publishing handbooks for law enforcement, prosecutors and the judiciary to combat and punish money laundering; providing financial investigative training sessions for nearly 2,000 relevant learners and 30 trainers; organising two mock money laundering trials; international study tours for the trainees, and researching money laundering in Viet Nam and the vulnerability of a cash-based economy.
Adding to the achievements, Nguyen Phi Hung, head of the Smuggling Investigations Department under the General Department of Vietnam Customs said since the project started, improvements had been made to the country's legal system regarding money laundering.
However, Hung said the issue in Viet Nam remained a complicated problem. He admitted that up to now, no one had been charged specifically for money laundering, it was always part of larger cases with other crimes involved.
Hung said his team also recognised that some cases of money laundering went under the cover of foreign investment in Viet Nam, or cash transferred from foreign countries.
Hung added that Viet Nam needed to build effective anti-money laundering policies in line with international standards.
Nguyen Minh Hien, a lecturer at the People's Police Academy and one of the 30 new trainers, appreciated the project's achievements, saying that he and his colleagues would help their trainees to work with the police and identify new cases.
However, Hien, who will complete his PhD in money laundering prevention in May, said that no investigations in Viet Nam had concentrated solely on money laundering, and the legal framework was unsound, something he hoped more training would help.
According to most participants, they needed more professional training on money laundering with international and regional lessons and experience, especially the "training for the trainers".
Many others also thought it would help if they improved their English to cope with international crimes in Viet Nam and update their knowledge of the issue.
Co-ordinator Thanh said he hoped the project would be expanded so the issue could be tackled more effectively.– VNS