Vietnam makes minor advance in corruption index

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Vietnam has advanced four levels in this year's edition of Transparency International's global corruption index which was released on Tuesday (October 26).

Vietnam ranked 116th on the list, up from 120th last year.

The country's overall corruption "score" remained at 2.7, according to the survey authored by the Berlin-based corruption watchdog group. The nation continued to rank 22 out of 33 in the Asian - Pacific region.

The improvements indicate that Vietnam is making necessary strides in reforming its fledgling anti-corruption mechanisms.

In 2006, Dr. Martin Gainsborough of Bristol University released a report sanctioned by Transparency International just one year after Vietnam passed its first anti-corruption law.

"Generally speaking, Vietnam's National Integrity System (NIS) is not working well, with the mechanisms in place to tackle corruption either rudimentary or poorly enforced," Dr. Gainsborough wrote, in his country study.

The British researcher, who was then-Director of the Bristol-Vietnam Project cautioned that the government should not merely pay lip service to reform amid mounting international pressure, but to pursue concrete results that would bolster the Communist Party's perceived legitimacy and attract foreign investors.

Globally, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore maintained top positions in the list with scores of 9.3, showing low levels of corruption, while Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia came in last with scores as low as 1.1.

The US ranked 22nd on the list, down from 19th last year, with a score of 7.1 out of 10 (compared with 7.5 in 2009).

The aftermath of the financial crisis and its effects on American homeowners has intensified skepticism of public integrity and hurt the country's ranking, Nancy Boswell, President of Transparency International-USA told Bloomberg.

The group found that the countries which were hardest-hit by the global financial crisis were precipitated by flagging transparency and integrity. This year's most striking improvements tended not to occur in the world's most developed and prosperous countries, the report found.

Transparency International said nearly three-quarters of the 178 countries considered in the survey scored under five. The watchdog defined corruption as "the abuse of entrusted power for private gain."

The watchdog called for governments to integrate anticorruption measures into all spheres, from their responses to the financial crisis and climate change to commitments by the international community to eradicate poverty.

It also advocated stricter implementation of the United Nation's Convention against Corruption.

"Allowing corruption to continue is unacceptable; too many poor and vulnerable people continue to suffer its consequences around the world," Hugette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International said in a statement accompanying the release of the findings. "We need to see more enforcement of existing rules and laws."

Commenting on a possible trial against Vietnamese suspects accused of receiving bribes from the US-based Nexus Technologies Company, an official from Vietnamese Supreme Prosecutor's Office said the agency is continuing to gather information about the case.

On Tuesday,Tran Quoc Vuong, the office's head, said he couldn't confirm anything because foreign prosecutors hadn't identified the name of Vietnamese citizens involved. He said the agency would continue to work with foreign partners to gather evidence.

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