Vietnam Party chief gets tough on corruption

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong (3rd, R) talks to delegates of a national conference on anti-corruption in Hanoi on May 5. PHOTO: HOANG TRANG
Party Chief Nguyen Phu Trong on Monday reiterated the importance of fighting corruption by calling for more action and less lip service.
Trong, who doubles as head of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption, was chairing a national conference on corruption in Hanoi.
He said that recent reform efforts have fallen short of expectations; bribery and public corruption remain rampant.
Nguyen Ba Thanh, chief of the central Party Committee's Internal Affairs Commission, told the conference an inspection into 3,605 state agencies since 2013 turned up 188 corruption cases at 118 agencies.
He said 69 agency heads have been found guilty of wrongdoings and have been punished.
Trong stressed that Party units and their leaders must be determined to fight corruption with practical and well-publicized actions, not just by words or written instructions on paper.
At the same time, he said, the leadership must provide shining examples of integrity and discipline.
He called on relevant authorities to issue more policies to tighten controls on assets and incomes of public servants, especially those in corruption-prone positions. High-value transactions by public servants must be made via banks to avoid money laundering or suspicious activity, he said.
Nguyen The Thao, chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee, suggested that the government control public servants’ assets via tight tax policies.
Phung Dinh Thuc, board chairman of state-owned PetroVietnam, said the current salary range for public servants is too low, leading to corruption. He called for salary reforms and controls over their income via bank accounts.
Party Chief Trong also stressed the need to improve capacity and coordination among the agencies responsible for corruption reform.
“The fight against corruption is only effective once the agencies in charge prosecute it correctly,” he said, adding that corruption, anywhere, must be strictly punished under the law, without exceptions.
The most pressing task is to address collective and organized corruption cases, name and shame those involved and confiscate assets gained through corruption, he said.
The Party leader emphasized the necessity of promoting the role of elected agencies, the Fatherland Front and mass organizations in the anti-corruption fight as well as increasing participation from the public.
Trong also asked the media to take a more active part in the struggle against corruption by providing the public with accurate and abundant information on the results and shortcomings of their work.
He requested the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption as well as other authorized agencies to provide information related to anti-corruption to the media in a proactive and timely manner in accordance with the law.

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