Corruption dwindling in Vietnam, asserts Party leader

By Xuan Hoa   August 16, 2018 | 04:53 pm PT
Corruption dwindling in Vietnam, asserts Party leader
General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong speaks at a governmental conference. Photo courtesy of Vietnam News Agency
Slowly but surely, corruption is being curbed in Vietnam, says Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

Addressing a conference organized by the Central Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption in Hanoi on Thursday, Trong said several serious corruption cases have been dealt with, fortifying the people’s belief in the Party and officials.

He highlighted especially serious corruption cases, including MobiFone’s illegal acquisition of private pay TV firm Audio Visual Global JSC (AVG), a major gambling ring in the northern province of Phu Tho, the $150 million of loss to the national budget due to mismanagement in PetroVietnam and the deliberate disclosure of state secrets by real estate tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu.

The cases have seen scores of high-ranking officials jailed, arrested or demoted.

In the last five years, the committee has also completed the prosecution and sentencing of 500 people in 40 corruption cases, out of a total of 125 cases exposed. Fifty-six central government officials have also been disciplined between January 2016 and August 2018.

In some prominent cases, Vietnam dismissed Deputy Minister of Public Security Bui Van Thanh earlier this month for violations including an overseas travel permission for the Da Nang tycoon Vu, who has been jailed for disclosing state secrets and is facing several other criminal charges. The country last month also dismissed Information Minister Tran Minh Tuan for his role in the MobiFone case. In April, former head of the national police department Phan Van Vinh was arrested for allegedly abusing his power in protecting the $420 million gambling ring busted in Phu Tho, a month after former head of the Ministry of Public Security's cyber crime department Nguyen Thanh Hoa was nabbed.

The biggest fall in the country's corruption crackdown so far was the imprisonment of Dinh La Thang, who was fired from his post as Ho Chi Minh City's Party leader last year, for mismanagement when he was at the helm of PetroVietnam.

“Corruption is slowly being curbed and is in decline,” Trong said.

He said that the committee would strive to strengthen its disciplinary system, remove existing drawbacks and train its personnel towards preventing further corruption.

Trong’s statements echoed a Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) report in April that evaluated the country's transparency and public administrative procedures through a nationwide survey of voters.

It found that control of corruption in the public sector had improved the most. Just 17 percent of respondents said they directly experienced demand for bribes when applying for land use rights certificates, down from 23 percent in 2016.

It also found that bribery at public district hospitals had decreased, with just 9 percent of respondents saying they had to resort to bribes, down from 17 percent in 2016.

Housing land seizures also declined, with less than 7 percent of respondents reporting them in 2017, compared to an average of 9 percent every year from 2013 onwards, the report said.

The report was a collaboration between the Center for Community Support and Development studies, the Center for Research and Training of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, Real-Time Analytics, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Kamal Malhotra, U.N. resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative in Vietnam, had said at the release of the report: “Although the direction of change is positive, much work remains to be done to fight corruption.”

He said that the survey results revealed both “encouraging and worrying” trends, especially in controlling corruption in the public sector.

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