Vietnam Party chief expands corruption crackdown to military

By Minh Nga, Hoang ThuyJanuary 9, 2019 | 10:57 pm PT
Vietnam Party chief expands corruption crackdown to military
Vietnam’s Party chief and President Nguyen Phu Trong speaks at a meeting with the Ministry of National Defense on January 7. Photo by Vietnam News Agency
Party chief and President Nguyen Phu Trong has taken the fight against corruption to the military.

He wants the military’s bosses to root out corrupt practices in managing and using its assets.

Trong, speaking at a meeting this week with the Ministry of National Defense and the Central Military Commission (CMC), the highest Party organ on military policy, said: "We should not be afraid the army will lose its prestige by dealing with such violations. If we do it well, we can even enhance that prestige.

"The army has to coordinate well with the police, maintain internal political security and fight against corruption and squander."

Trong, who is also chairman of the Central Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption, spelled out the tasks ahead of the CMC and the ministry, including strictly handling and doing their best to prevent violations with respect to managing and using the military’s assets.

In the past three years Vietnam's sweeping corruption crackdown spearheaded by Trong has ensnared scores of high-profile officials, especially in the energy and banking sectors.

Last year a large number of officials, including in the military, and businesspeople faced criminal charges including for mismanagement of military land, faced disciplinary action or were arrested for corruption.

In April, Colonel Dinh Ngoc He became the first senior military official to be imprisoned. He was sentenced to 12 years for "abusing power in the performance of official duties" and "using fake documents."

In July two senior Air Force officers and the Party units they were affiliated received official warnings for mismanagement of military land.

Late last year a hotline was set up for the public to complain about corruption by the police.

After the ninth plenum of the Party Central Committee last December, it was announced that since the national Party congress in 2016 over 60 officials reporting to the Central Committee were disciplined, including five members of the Central Committee itself, three of whom were expelled.

Observing the crackdown since the beginning, Carl Thayer, an Australia-based Vietnam analyst, told VnExpress International that in 2019 the anti-corruption campaign would impact networks of corruption and punish officials who are guilty of acts of commission – engaging in corrupt practices – and acts of omission – failing to exercise responsibility to expose and end corruption.

Members of the Politburo and Central Committee are now preparing for the nomination of the next generation of leaders at the 13th national Party congress to be held in 2021.

The anti-corruption campaign is the signature initiative of Trong, and he would not let up on his efforts to clean the Party of corrupt and degenerate members and weed out corrupt members in government ministries, departments and state firms, Thayer predicted.

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