|Associate professor Nguyễn Quốc Dũng. — Photo courtesy of the Academy of Politics Region 2|
A series of government officials have been detained for wrongdoings and receiving bribes in a COVID-19 test kit scam at Việt Á Technologies. Former Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long and former chairman of the Hà Nội People's Committee Chu Ngọc Anh were detained as part of the investigation.
Associate Professor Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, director of the Academy of Politics Region 2, speaks to the Voice of Việt Nam (VOV) e-newspaper about preventing corruption and the Việt Á case.
How do you feel when officials in high positions commit wrongdoings?
We are very sad about the recent incidents when senior leaders who have been trained in localities, but perhaps due to a lack of morality and ideology training, are easily tempted and “fall” before money.
I think that personnel organisation needs deeper perspectives to evaluate people properly. Although it is tough to properly appreciate people because awareness is in their heads, it takes a great deal of patience.
Besides professional capacity, ethical qualities are essential when selecting and appointing officials. The fundamental solution is to raise current officials’ and party members’ awareness, not just qualifications, but also a sense of self-respect, morality and enthusiasm for the Party’s ideals.
Looking back at recent corruption cases, we should not be pessimistic because there are still many good people and many brave leaders. It is necessary to create a good environment for officials to devote themselves and solve policies well.
Does the Việt Á case highlight many problems?
The case is a test of anti-corruption policy and personnel work. This test was very painful, causing many leaders to be criminally prosecuted.
In the severe COVID-19 pandemic, many people sacrificed their lives for the community, but why did some officials tolerate Việt Á to make a profit? In terms of human conscience, this is unacceptable.
The Việt Á case also shows a very dangerous hidden problem: the collusion and tolerance of some leaders. The enterprise has surpassed the State agency. How was the inspection and supervision here? Reviewing this to find those who bear the responsibility is necessary.
The community has asked whether leaders made mistakes due to depravity or poor management. What is your opinion?
The main reason is the depravity of some leaders. Qualifications may be low, but they will not commit wrongdoings if they have self-respect and morality.
When they received the money in such large amounts, it was necessary to ask the question, "Where does the money come from?" "What were they given the money for?" If they are self-respecting people, they will know the right answer.
The problem is that the officials’ ethics and quality still show poor working capacity and incompetence. I think they are so incompetent that they do not understand the purpose of such a large amount of "commission." Therefore, the main thing is still some officials’ depravity.
Our country does not lack leaders with self-respect. The problem is how we find talented people and invite them to help the country.
Are salary increases the solution to limit corruption?
That's just one solution.
To make people not dare to be corrupt, sanctions must be stringent so that they are afraid and do not dare try.
The anti-corruption policy must make corruption impossible, which means legal documents are regularly completed, so there are no loopholes in the law.
In addition, the anti-corruption policy must make people not need to be corrupt. That is, wages and living standards must be raised.
The anti-corruption policy also should make people not want to be corrupt. Therefore, moral education is extremely important, including following late President Hồ Chí Minh's moral thought and style.
If leaders are greedy, they will make a profit. If they are ethical and have self-respect, they will not allow themselves to make mistakes. — VNS