Vietnam leader backs new system to fight corruption

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Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang has said placing the anti-corruption committee under the Party as has been decided is the best way to end corruption in the country.

At a recent meeting the Party decided to restructure the system by placing the Central Guidance Board for Anti-corruption under the Party general secretary. Hitherto, it was under the Prime Minister.

"The previous board made several gains in preventing waste and corruption, but not to the extent expected by the people," Sang told Tuoi Tre newspaper in an interview published Monday.

Considering Vietnam's political system, having Party members in the board and the Party chief as the board's leader was the best possible move.

"I believe there will be positive developments.

"We have no other choice but succeed this time, even if we have to resort to painful methods."

A typical sign of corruption in Vietnam was government officials having "abnormal" assets and incomes.

But verifying them was a "huge" task, and the job would only become easier if Vietnam's payment system switched from cash to credit cards.

"When cash is popular, there are risks of illegal incomes, of money laundering through real estate, stock, and banking channels."

To end corruption, authorities needed to listen to and act on tip-offs from citizens about signs of corruption so that a suspect is either punished or cleared, he said.


Last month the Party secretary of Hai Duong Province in the north, Bui Thanh Quyen, and his son, a local labor official, made headlines for owning a garden of more than 4,000 hectares valued at VND1 billion (US$48,000) besides luxury house, pond and mountain miniatures.

Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Bac Son admitted it is "unusual" for the duo to have such assets with their government incomes.

Sang said inspectors are working on the case, and he was not in a position to comment yet.

"I heard a lot about government officials having unusual incomes that allow them to buy villas as far away as in Singapore. But I have not had a chance to confirm that."

Sang said in Ho Chi Minh City some people told him that they have learned to live with the fact that officials took bribes.

"But they also said that officials should stop at some point, that there will be nothing left for the people if the officials "˜eat' everything."

It was "embarrassing" to hear such comments, he said.

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