Corruption fight needs fresh venom

14:56 | 10/12/2012
Vietnam’s government is being urged by the international community and donors to take tougher action to eat away at corruption.

At a dialogue on anti-corruption in Hanoi last week, embassies and international organisations told the government that existing laws, rules and regulations that aimed at combating corruption were “often not implemented and enforced seriously”.

Victoria Kwakwa, Vietnam country director for the World Bank, said that the Anti-Corruption Law adopted last month by the National Assembly “still lacks effective supervision mechanisms to ensure transparency.” “Could the Law on Access to Information be enacted soon? Why is it so slow?

Passing this law would be a major step forward for Vietnam’s anti-corruption battle,” said Kwakwa.

Kwakwa’s view was echoed by UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta: “A big gap remains between anti-corruption documents, rules and laws, and implementation of these documents. The most important thing now for the government is intensifying its actions.”

The representatives of international donors also noted that Vietnam decided to shift the control of the Central Anti-Corruption Steering Committee from the hand of the government to the hand of the Politburo. They said this showed political determination of Vietnam’s leaders, but more concrete results could  be made if more actions were taken.

To support their opinions, they recalled the “Corruption from the perspectives of citizens, enterprises and public officials” survey released in late November by the Government Inspectorate, the Office of the Central Anti-Corruption Steering Committee and the World Bank.

This survey was conducted over 2,601 citizens, 1,058 local and foreign firms and 1,801 state officials from March to April, 2012. Under this survey, more than 75 per cent of respondents from all three sample groups indicted that they were very interested in corruption issues, and corruption in the traffic police, land administration, construction and customs was a serious and prevalent issue.

The survey stated that corruption ranged from high-level political graft to low-level bribes.  For firms, 44 per cent said they had to pay unofficial payments. Sixty per cent believed that informal charges were costly, and 39 per cent said they considered corruption a cause of concern.

Also last week Transparency International trumpeted its Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, which was surveyed over 176 nations and territories. Under the index, Vietnam ranked 123rd and receive a scored  31 on scale in which 0 denotes “highly corrupt” and 100 is “very clean.”

By Thanh Tung

vir.com.vn

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