Việt Nam lacks necessary mechanisms to enforce provisions on bribery of foreign public officials and officials of international public organisations under the 2015 Penal Code, according to research conducted by Hà Nội Law University with support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). — Photo vietnamnet.vn
HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam lacks necessary mechanisms to enforce provisions on bribery of foreign public officials and officials of international public organisations under the 2015 Penal Code, according to research conducted by Hà Nội Law University with support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The research provides case studies of laws and law enforcement efforts to curb bribery of foreign public officials in five countries – the US, the UK, South Korea, Japan and China - and applications for Việt Nam. These five selected countries criminalize bribery of foreign public officials.
Sharing the research outcomes at a discussion in Hà Nội yesterday, Dr Đào Lệ Thu, Director of the Centre for Comparative Research on Public Law at the Comparative Law Institute under Hà Nội Law University said “In the context of international economic integration and globalisation, Vietnamese businesses have increasingly engaged in international economic and investment cooperation. This fact has brought about a risk of bribery of foreign officials of governments, international agencies and organisations to gain business and investment benefits.”
According to the research, Việt Nam has established a fundamental legal framework on handling bribery of foreign public officials.
However, compared to relevant legal frameworks of the US and the UK, there are weaknesses and gaps in the Vietnamese legal framework which may hamper the effectiveness of the fight against bribery of foreign public officials.
The lack of unity and consistency between the legal framework that defines bribery of foreign public officials and other laws on preventing, detecting and prosecuting the crime is the most critical problem that needs to be addressed.
The capacity of law enforcement officials in criminal cases of transnational crimes is still limited. Mechanisms for cooperation in criminal proceedings, especially international cooperation in investigation, prosecution and adjudication of criminal cases are also unclear and difficult to implement, the research says.
Thu, the research team leader, recommended that Việt Nam develop a comprehensive legal framework on fighting bribery of foreign public officials in order to ensure its unity and consistency.
The experiences of the US, the UK, South Korea and Japan indicate that the prosecution of bribery of foreign public officials should not be the first and sole solution.
Mechanisms for early prevention and detection are essential. These countries criminalize bribery of foreign public officials not only to punish it but also to promote the use of preventive and self-detection mechanisms by businesses to avoid criminal liability.
Việt Nam’s 2015 Penal Code, which took effect on January 1 this year, officially criminalizes bribery of foreign public officials by adding a sub-section to Article 364 of the penal code. It states that any person who promises to bribe a foreign official, an official of a public international organisation or an office holder in an enterprise or organization other than state organizations shall be dealt with in accordance with the Article.
UNDP Country Director in Việt Nam, Caitlin Wiesen, commended Việt Nam’s commitment to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals especially goals No 16 - dedicated to accountable institutions, peace and justice.
“Strengthened efforts in controlling corruption are critical for inclusive, accountable governance which cuts across and underpins the sustainable development of all societies and for all peoples.
“UNDP-supported research identifies good practices and lessons learned in the criminalisation of bribery of foreign public officials that Việt Nam can adapt to further strengthen legislative frameworks to help prevent and curb corruption in doing business,” she said. - VNS