Informants claim 40 cases of Vietnamese officials accepting New Year gifts as bribes

By Phuong Son   February 13, 2018 | 12:29 am PT
Unwrapping the truth behind hidden holiday bonuses and secret Lunar Year gifts.

Vietnam’s anti-corruption forces have received 40 tip-offs about bogus holiday gift exchanges at government offices in the past month.

Pham Trong Dat, head of the Anti-Corruption Department at the Government Inspectorate, said his office had received around 40 calls and messages about officials coercing Tet gifts from employees or delaying payments to staff.

Some offices have been reported for bribes disguised as Tet gifts, Dat said.

The Lunar New Year, known as Tet in Vietnam, will peak on February 16, but the traditional custom of giving lucky money has been used by workers to bribe bosses and government officials in exchange for certain favors.

Vietnamese leaders have voiced their opposition to the practice for years.

In 2007, the government imposed a ban on officials taking holiday gifts and spending state money on gifts for superiors.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc repeated the order in late December, when he asked officials across the country not to bring Tet gifts to Hanoi.

The anti-corruption department sets up hotlines to receive public complaints about violations every year. Last year, the department also received calls regarding bogus gift exchanges, but subsequent investigations unwrapped no wrongdoings.

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