Vietnam to trace officials' major transactions to fight corruption

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In an effort to fight corruption, Vietnam's government will ask officials to purchase assets of high value through bank accounts, the government's inspectorate said at a meeting on Friday.

In Vietnam, even major transactions are often paid in cash.

According to inspectors, other measures included tightening enforcement on the regulation which requires officials to declare their assets and incomes, and more officials will be targeted by such regulations.

Many officials have abused the regulations on state secrets by not making the required declarations, inspectors said in a report reviewing the effectiveness of the countries anti-corruption laws between 2006 and 2010.

In fact, the inspection of 23,552 agencies resulted in 1,704 fines for violating the declaration regulations.

As part of their proposed anti-corruption measures, the government inspectorate also said the salaries of officials and state employees must improve.

In cases of corruption, people in positions of authority will be held more responsible and removed from their positions during investigations.

The report showed that over the past five years, 678 head officials and their subordinates had been punished for allowing corruption to take place.

The number of punished officials was too low compared to the number of detected cases, chief inspector Huynh Phong Tranh said.

In some cases, the violations of supervisors were punished as if they had not been directly involved, but had simply failed to enforce standards, he added.

He attributed the problem to vague regulations on assigning and managing officials in positions of power.

Vietnam also plans to adopt the regulations of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in hopes of closing the loopholes of current laws, inspectors said.

According to the report, the detection of and handling corruption cases in Vietnam is still "limited" and "poor" most of the detected corruption cases were small scale ones, and mostly low level violaters were punished.

Moreover, it often took too long to handle the cases and the rate of violators who received suspended sentences was too high, the report said. Not many properties obtained through corrupt means were confiscated and related losses were not compensated, it added.

A report on the Dan Tri news website said inspectors have launched 62,994 investigations, only 464 of which were handed over to police. 

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