Law changes needed to improve asset recovery rates in corruption cases: Chief Justice

March 21, 2023 - 07:04
Many countries put in place non-criminal proceedings which allow confiscation when the corruption suspects fail to explain the source of the income or asset.
Chief Justice Nguyễn Hòa Bình answered questions from legislators during Monday hearing at the National Assembly. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tấn

HÀ NỘI — Chief Justice Nguyễn Hòa Bình said increased accountability mechanisms are needed to improve the rate of asset recovery in corruption cases.

The head of the Supreme People’s Court of Việt Nam made the remarks as he fielded questions from legislators during the National Assembly Standing Committee’s hearing on judicial issues conducted on Monday in Hà Nội.

The current laws and regulations stated that only corrupt assets can be confiscated, so during legal procedures, the authorised agencies will need to prove that the assets in question are indeed illegally obtained, Bình noted, and the asset recovery rate can be improved once the authorities’ capabilities in proving the assets’ legal/illegal nature are enhanced.

He said that many countries put in place non-criminal proceedings which allow confiscation when the corruption suspects fail to explain the source of the income or asset.

"If Vietnamese laws are to be amended in this direction then we can expect to increase the asset recovery rate," the chief justice told legislators, stressing that changing the law is the radical change needed.

Minister of Justice Lê Thành Long also noted that asset recovery is a “central, important political task” for the justice and law enforcement sectors.

From October 2022 to March 2023, assets worth VNĐ17 trillion (US$720.87 million) were recovered from corruption and mismanagement cases, up VNĐ12 trillion compared to the same period last year.

He also pointed to a host of obstacles such as the assets in major graft cases scattered in different localities nationwide, the time and efforts needed to trace asset origin – especially in identifying whether the asset belongs to the suspect, or belong both to the suspect and their spouse or their household.

He called on people-elected agencies, the legislature and its deputies to enhance their supervision to prevent asset concealment.

According to a report by the Supreme People’s Court, 12,244 corruption and economic cases were handled between 2018 and 2022, with 25,144 individuals involved.

NA Chairman Vương Đình Huệ said the court and procuracy sectors have a very important role to play in ensuring the strict enforcement of legal documents to help with the fight against corruption and negative phenomena.

Courts are judging bodies that exercise judicial rights and protect justice, human rights, citizens’ rights, the socialist regime, interests of the State, and rights and legitimate interests of organisations and individuals.

With a high sense of responsibility, courts have improved the quality and effectiveness of judging activities.

Meanwhile, the procuracy sector, which exercises the rights of prosecution and investigation procuracy, has made unceasing efforts to better fulfil the tasks assigned by the Party, State, and people, Huệ said. — VNS