Vietnam struggles to recover assets stolen in corruption cases: government

By VnExpress   December 16, 2016 | 02:00 am GMT+7
Vietnam struggles to recover assets stolen in corruption cases: government
A woman displays seafood for sale at a market in Vietnam's central highland city of Bao Loc. Photo by Reuters/Kham

Only 7.6 percent of the $2.6 billion in ill-gotten gains has been recovered over the last decade.

Over the last ten years, only 7.6 percent of assets involved in nearly 1,900 corruption cases in Vietnam have been recovered, the national television broadcaster VTV reported.

Data from the Vietnam Anti-Corruption Bureau showed that these corruption cases cost Vietnam nearly VND60 trillion ($2.6 billion), but the government has retrieved over VND4.6 trillion ($202 million) so far.

Ngo Manh Hung, deputy head of the bureau, admitted that infrequent monitoring of public servants’ assets makes it difficult to detect corruption cases and for assets to be fully recovered.

In a corruption case related to the state-owned Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group in 2012, nine top executives were required to pay VND360 billion back to the state budget, but to date, only a tenth of the amount has been collected.

“Recovering the assets is difficult, and the longer we hesitate, the less likely we are to ever see them again,” Hung said.

Shervin Majlessi, senior legal adviser of the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative under the World Bank, agreed with Hung, adding that assets should be frozen as soon as corruption is detected so that corrupt officials don’t have time to hide or spend them.

He said that mutual assistance between governments will help in efforts to recover assets.

Corruption is a prevalent problem in Vietnam.

Vietnam ranked 112th among the 168 countries and territories on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2015 compiled by Transparency International, improving seven places from a year ago.

The Vietnamese government, in a document sent to its legislators in late October, admitted that many officials, including senior ones, have been neglecting their duties and failing to uphold moral standards and political virtues.

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