Lưu Bình Nhưỡng, a permanent member of the NA Commission for Social Affairs, speaks to the newspaper Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economic and Urban Affairs) on imperative of feasible strategies to win the fight against corruption
A report released by the Government on the fight against embezzlement and corruption says that in 2016 more than 1.1 million people declared their assets, but only 77 cases were verified while three cases were charged with false statements. Have those reports truthfully reflected what is happening in real life?
Many people have expressed their worry about the quality of those papers. Under the Anti-Corruption policies, all government officials ranking from deputy manager of a department upward have to make an annual declaration report of their assets, but the quality of the report until now has been a question without an answer, as has the number of detected corruption cases that have been solved, and so on so forth.
In their asset declarations, quite a few people said their wealth was the fruit of their hard work in raising pigs or other sideline jobs.
In my opinion, if we want to have a high quality asset declaration program there are four things we should focus on.
First, officials must be honest.
Second, responsible offices or agencies must verify whether the report is true or not true
Third, all self-declaration reports should be posted in a public place for people to read.
And finally, due punishment will be given to whoever is found to have falsified their report.
More recently some senior government officials have been reported to possess huge assets. But so far no official statements have been made on why these people could have such huge assets. Do you have any comments on such cases?
Honestly speaking, I don’t have any answer for your question. Even me, I’m also interested in finding out why there is a delay in making public such cases. The ball is now in the court of responsible agencies.
Quite a few embezzlement case have caused the loss of thousands of billion Vietnamese đồng to the State budget, but the recovery sums are very small. In your opinion, what should we do to recover the embezzled money?
To my understanding the Party Central Commission for Internal Affairs has conducted a major study on anti-corruption, and the topic of how to recover corrupted assets is a component of the study. But we all know this topic is very challenging. As we all know by the time a corruption case is detected, many assets have already been lost or their values have been reduced considerably. Adding to that quite a few people who were assigned to handle such corruption cases have not done their missions properly. In my opinion, if all people involved in the fight against corruption complete their assigned missions properly, we’ll win in the fight against corruption.
High on the agenda of the ongoing 14th session of the National Assembly Standing Committee is the discussion of the revised Law on Anti-Corruption, including articles on asset declarations and income of senior Government officials. In your own opinion, what should be revised in the law?
Generally speaking, the Anti-Corruption Law is a very important law. It is a very important tool for the State to manage the public assets and budget while creating a mechanism to make the State apparatus clean in order to win the people’s confidence in the Party and State.
In my opinion, the revised law should be additionally comprehensive so that it can encompass all subjects or corruption acts that may occur in the real life. In the meantime, it should provide conditions for all people, social organisations, including the media, to exercise their supervision rights towards government officers and State employees. The law should also come up with workable mechanisms to mete out severe punishments to any corruption acts and to retrieve corrupted assets. Last but not least, the law should create a corridor for collaboration with other legal documents, including the Law on Public Asset Management, the Denunciation Law, the Construction Law and others.