Anti-corruption officials want to tighten noose on cash transactions

By An Hong, Ba Do   April 14, 2016 | 07:57 pm GMT+7

Asset declarations for all high-ranking officials are intended to put an end to corruption, but there is a lack of transparency in the system that requires these officials to be honest, said Pham Trong Dat, head of the Anti-Corruption Department under the Government Inspectorate.

“Asset declarations are done just for the sake of doing them. It doesn’t help much in the fight against corruption,” said Pham Trong Dat at a meeting on Thursday. The inspector suggested tightening cash transactions, which are the source of half the corruption headache.

The intention is that through asset declarations in which officials are required to clearly make information on their real estate and stock ownership available to the public, the government can monitor corruption-linked assets.

anti-corruption-officials-want-to-tighten-noose-on-cash-transactions

Pham Trong Dat, Head of the Anti-Corruption Department. Photo by Ba Do

“What we have done so far is just simply make a list of assets without verifying the information and holding any individual accountable for dishonestly declaring assets,” he said.

He also said that cash transactions, including under-the-table money and cash bribes, are part of the problem, “which make it more difficult for [the government] to manage assets [of officials] and fight corruption.”

The inspector said the government should make amendments to Anti-Corruption Law, tightening the rules and applying stricter checks on asset information.

“We are working towards the day when all officials have to declare their assets publicly so that people know, people verify and people monitor,” Dat added.

More than 5.5 million asset declarations were made from 2007 to 2014. Anti-corruption inspectors have looked into 2,600 cases, of which 18 officials were reported for falsely declaring assets.

In the first three months of this year, inspectors have exposed four cases, accusing six people of appropriating VND3.1 billion ($140,000).