Experts promote innovative anti-corruption measures
  • By Bui Hoang Tam | dtinews.vn | May 27, 2016 03:36 PM

Corruption has become so sophisticated that cash-stuffed envelopes now seem out-dated, with some people apparently believing it is more economical to give gold bars instead.

After warm afterglow from the general election on May 22 and the US President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam begins to cool, urgent matters facing the country have resurfaced, including the anti-corruption problem highlighted at a conference held on May 24 in Quang Ninh Province.

The anti-corruption law was first implemented on June 1, 2006 and amended twice. But despite the efforts, the situation hasn't improved, in fact, it has become worse with bolder and more serious crimes. That's why Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, head of the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption, decided to establish seven inspection teams to supervise, investigate and prosecute major corruption cases.


Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong

But will that be enough? At the conference, Nguyen Tuan Anh, deputy director of the Government Inspectorate's Legal Department, said, "The main purpose of the anti-corruption law is to create a broad and effective mechanism to prevent corruption and create a better community where people say no to corruption."

It feels like he was indirectly admitting that the mechanism was not effective.

Ngo Manh Hung, deputy head of Anti-Corruption Bureau, then suggested adding to the law that "officials must report family assets that are bigger than possible based on average incomes."

The suggestion is spot on as bribes are more likely to be given to a family member. Not long ago, Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee Hoang Trung Hai also said that officials must focus on the development of their ethics and morals so that their own families wouldn't abuse the power to take bribes or become involved in illegal activities.

Deputy Do Thi Hoang of Quang Ninh Province said their measure was to establish a separate centre just for administrative services where people would file their paperwork without having to interact with civil servants.

One of the most innovative ideas came from the deputy head of the Police Department of Economic and Corruption Crimes Nguyen Duc Hien. Hien suggested that the government stop printing large denominations.

"If only VND20,000 banknotes were printed and foreign currency transactions banned then people will be discouraged to give bribes as the cash-stuff envelopes would be extremely thick," he said.

That sounds reasonably at first. If someone want to buy a position in office at VND200m (USD9,000), they would need 10,000 banknotes and probably hire a cyclo to carry the money. Then the whole neighbourhood would be aware what was going on.

But such money printing plan would be a major chore. Not to mention that envelopes are considered old-fashioned and only used for small-scale corruption. To do big business, they will use gold bars. Each tael is worth at least VND33m (USD1,500) and ten taels mean VND330m (USD15,000). It's so much neater.

Hien's plan is impractical so how about not using money or gold anymore. Then people can only give rice and chickens as bribes and corruption problem may be completely dealt with.

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