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Whistleblowers must be protected and awarded

Update: January, 14/2017 - 09:00
Nguyễn Kim of the Government Inspectorate.
Viet Nam News

Nguyễn Văn Kim, Acting Director of the Justice Department under the Government Inspectorate, speaks to the newspaper Nông thôn Ngày nay (Countryside Today) about proposed changes in the current Law on Complaints and Denunciation.

What percentage of denunciations by people have been certified as correct in the past five years (2012-2016)?

According to a report released by the Government Inspectorate at a conference in Hà Nội on December 15, in the five years from 2012-2016, State administrators handled some 386,500 complaints lodged in 268,225 cases. As a result, authorities reclaimed VNĐ869 billion (US$38.6 million) and 316 hectares of land, while restoring the rights of more than 13,600 citizens who were given back 416.6 ha of land.

The report also said that about 15-20 per cent of denunciations turned out to be justified, 20-30 per cent were not and the remaining were deemed slanderous allegations. These figures reflect the low effectiveness of law enforcement agencies, including Government officials and officers working in the field.

In reality, quite a few denunciators were under external pressures to act, while others lodged complaints or denunciations for their own benefit or to sow discord among people in their own groups, particularly at sensitive times or occasions, including national assembly elections and appointments of new leaders.

What are the main reasons people lodge denunciations?

Generally speaking, most were for the benefit of the general public, the community.

However, some denunciations were lodged for the benefit of the denunciators, for example their citizens’ rights, their own health or lives were exposed to danger or were encroached upon. But, I should say, these cases are not many.

Don’t you think that one of the weaknesses of the current law is the absence of a mechanism to encourage people to lodge complaints?

I should say the 2011 Law on Denunciation contains a clause on awarding people who have made justified denunciations. But I’m afraid to say that it doesn’t happen. That’s why it does not encourage the general public to denounce bad acts or malpractice.

In addition, leaders from a number of public agencies have failed to fulfill their responsibility in settling citizens’ complaints and denunciations.

The Anti Corruption Law stipulates that people who detect and denounce corruption should be awarded. Why is such a policy not applied to people who have detected serious violations of other laws?

I should say similar awards are also applied to people who have reported major economic corruption cases. We cannot deny that we have been facing many difficulties in the fight against corruption. Giving awards to people who have helped expose such cases is one way to prevent corruption.

Would you please elaborate about awards to those who help expose serious corruption in the future revised Anti Corruption Law?

In the law we can only provide guidelines on giving awards to people who have made considerable contributions to exposing serious corruption cases. It is the Government’s mission to come up with specific regulations on giving awards. As I have mentioned above, a key purpose of giving awards to people who have helped is to bring to light serious corruption and acknowledge their efforts and contributions while encouraging other people to follow their examples.

What about policy to protect denunciators?

I’m afraid to say that activities protecting the denouncers have been facing many challenges. This has somehow dampened the willingness of many citizens to denounce other people, particularly those in power, for their acts of corruption. In reality, quite a few denunciators have been retaliated against. We need to protect them. This is one of the reasons we have to revise the 2011 Anti Corruption Law.

In the revised law we’ll come up with strong actions to protect the denunciators, particularly their personal information, including their place of residence and of work and their personal dignity, as well as their family members.

In the revised law we’ll try to ensure that legal provisions are workable. Of course, the law will have provisions on responsibility of each law enforcement agency, as well as measures to protect the denunciators. — VNS








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