Vietnamese Party plans travel ban on members suspected of corruption

By Vo Hai   May 29, 2018 | 09:45 pm PT
Vietnamese Party plans travel ban on members suspected of corruption
Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam's Communist Party leader and its corruption fight leader. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Government Portal
Inspection committees can now prevent Party members suspected of corruption from fleeing abroad.

The top leadership of Vietnam's Communist Party has granted its inspection committees the right to ban members suspected of corruption from traveling abroad.

The move that steps up the Party’s fight against corruption was taken through new regulations issued on Tuesday.

Under the new regulations issued by the Politburo, the Party's premier decision-making body, all Party members, regardless of position, will be subject to inspection and strict punishment if signs of corruption are spotted.

Strict punishment will also be meted out to any Party organization or member found to be tolerating or covering up corruption, or obstructing and illegally intervening in the handling of corruption cases.

The Party's inspection committees from district-level upwards will be responsible for supervising members' asset declarations; and for monitoring members having disproportionate assets or engaging in suspicious activities.

The committees will also receive and process corruption-related complaints and denunciations, and collect relevant information from Party units and organizations.

The inspection committees have the right to ask Party members suspected of corruption not to leave the country, and to direct relevant authorities to suspend such attempts to travel abroad in accordance with the law.

The new regulations also allow inspection committees to freeze the assets of any Party member suspected of corruption and in cases there are signs of concealment or dispersal of assets.

Additionally, the committees are tasked with proposing disciplinary action against Party members found guilty of acts of corruption that do not amount to a criminal charge, as well as against superiors for letting corruption happen.

Dozens of Vietnamese officials and business figures have been arrested in a crackdown on corruption spearheaded by Vietnam’s Communist Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong.

Some of them have made global headlines by fleeing overseas to evade arrest.

Former oil executive Trinh Xuan Thanh managed to flee to Germany in August 2016 after a corruption probe held him accountable for losses of around VND3.2 trillion ($147 million) at PetroVietnam Construction JSC (PVC). Thanh however returned to Vietnam a year later and "turned himself in," according to the police. He was sentenced to two life sentences for embezzlement in historic trials earlier this year.

Da Nang's real estate tycoon Phan Van Anh Vu also managed to leave the country last December just as the Ministry of Public Security launched a criminal investigation into him for "deliberately disclosing state secrets." However Vu was deported from Singapore early this January for violating its Immigration Law and arrested upon arrival in Vietnam. In addition to the original charge, he now faces additional charges of "tax evasion," "abuse of power in performance of official duties" and "abuse of power to appropriate property."

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