Vietnam ministry investigates alleged job recruitment bribery

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Vietnam's Ministry of Internal Affairs has set up a group tasked with inspecting the accusation that in order to get a government job in Hanoi, candidates must pay at least VND100 million (US$4,755) in bribes.

Deputy Minister Tran Anh Tuan announced the establishment of the special group to the press on December 21, Tien Phong reported.

The ministry made the move after Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered Hanoi authorities to look into the claim of Tran Trong Duc, chairman of the city Party unit's Inspection Committee.

At a People's Council session on December 7, Duc had said that it was impossible to pass a public service recruitment test in the capital without paying off those in charge of hiring.

"If corruption is detected, the Ministry of Internal Affairs will join hands with Hanoi People's Committee to deal with it strictly," Tuan said, adding that they will hand it over to legal agencies if criminal wrongdoing is found to be taking place.

According to Tuan, the group's inspection will focus on recruitment conducted at Hanoi districts as alleged by Duc, adding that he has also asked Hanoi authorities to report on the city's recruitment in general. The report was supposed to have been sent to the ministry by December 25.

Asked if he was shocked at the alleged bribes, Tuan said even if bribery happened in public service recruitments, he did not think that involved people would ask for such a particular sum of money. He said it was possible that the alleged bribes in the recruitment process were actually gifts.

But, with his position, Duc should have data and evidence for the information he revealed, the deputy minister stressed.

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Meanwhile, speaking to Tien Phong after the deputy minister's announcement, Duc said he did not know about the establishment of the task force, and that he had already said what he has to say.

Earlier in an interview with Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper on December 17, Duc said heads of internal affairs at districts who received applications had been involved in the bribery and would possibly come up against the might of the law if their wrongdoing was exposed.

He said he had "evidence," but did not provide details. Prior to the interview, Duc had also refused to provide any information about his claim to the press.

Expanded inspections

Speaking to the press, Tuan stressed that the ministry will inspect many other provinces and cities that have come under suspicions of accepting bribes.

However, he also noted that it was "hard" to detect corruption in public service recruitment. Inspectors have to rely on documents like job applications to detect if there is any sign hinting that they are not qualified, and ask police to catch people receiving and taking bribes red-handed, he said.

Transparent regulations are needed to guarantee that there are no loopholes during the recruitment process that can allow corruption, Tuan said.

In the future, the ministry will organize recruitment tests exclusively on computers, according to Tuan.

"Even the chairman of the council managing the place where the tests take place will not be able to interfere with the results," he said.

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