Vietnam gov't leader calls for whistle-blower protections

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Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong has instructed the Central Anticorruption Commission and the Ministry of Public Security to issue regulations to protect individuals who speak out against corruption.

The instruction was given on September 7 at a ceremony in Hanoi to honor 88 individuals for their efforts to tackle graft nationwide.

The honorees included residents, journalists, police and government officials who called out embezzlers and helped build corruption cases.

Trong, who also serves as vice head of the National Anticorruption Commission, admitted the government's limited capacity in detecting and prosecuting corruption, VietNamNet reported.

For this reason, he encouraged people, particularly public servants, to speak out against graft and stressed the responsibility that local governments and Party units have to protect whistle-blowers.

"Local authorities must establish protections for those who speak out against corruption. They must take action if they are retaliated against for their candor," he said.

At the ceremony, many honorees shared bitter tales of retaliation and persecution.

Hoang Van Khanh, General Director of the Hai Phong Textile Garment Exporting Joint Stock Company, said his company has been on the verge of bankruptcy since he blew the whistle on Doan Tien Dung, former-vice director of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), in February.

He said his company has failed to obtain bank loans since he came forward with his claims.

Another individual honored at the ceremony, Phung Chi Cong, office head of the O Mon District People's Committee and O Mon District People's Council, said that his home had been surrounded by thugs after he accused local district officials of embezzlement.

"My daughter could not find a job for two years after graduating from a teacher's college," he said. "Though many places needed applicants like her, no one would hire her because she is the child of a corruption fighter."

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