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More comprehensive and concrete solutions need to be in place to change perceptions of public sectorcorruption in Vietnam

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2015 was launched by Transparency International (TI) on 27 January 2016 in Berlin, ranking 168 countries and territories based on the business people and country experts’ perceptions of public sector corruption.

This year, Vietnam scores 31/100, ranking 112/168 globally.

Towards Transparency (TT), TI’s National Contact in Vietnam, recognises the country’s efforts in enhancing the anti-corruption legislation and enforcement of law. These efforts are reflected in the revision of corruption crime- related provisions in the Penal Code; the ongoing development of a law on access to information; the introduction of regulations, policies to enhance openness, transparency and accountability of the leaders of public authorities; and the focus on investigation, prosecution and judgement of a number of serious corruption cases.

However, as Vietnam’s score has remained unchanged over the last four years (since 2012) and the country continues to stay among nations where corruption is perceived as serious, we are of the opinion that Vietnam has not addressed shortcomings in its anti-corruption work thoroughly and effectively. In their official reports, the central anti-corruption agencies have also acknowledged a number of significant weaknesses, including: legal loopholes and weak enforcement of the Anti-Corruption Law, and the absence of effective mechanisms to encourage the people’s participation.

In order to bring about positive transformation in corruption perceptions in Vietnam, TT recommends the Communist Party and the Sate of Vietnam to carry out simultaneously a number of solutions, as follows:

First, in the context that Vietnam is reviewing the 10-year implementation of the Anti-Corruption Law and planning for a comprehensive revision of this law to meet the practical needs and requirement for compliance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), to which Vietnam is a signatory, amendments to the law should be focused on:

· Asset Declaration and Disclosure:Narrow down subjects of asset and income declaration; assign one leading institution with adequate mandate and resources to manage, verify and monitor declarations; disclose these declarations widely to the public.

· Asset recovery:Provide specific regulations on the order, process, procedures and collaboration mechanism among authorized national agencies and their international counterparts; designate one institution to manage confiscated and recovered assets.

· Accountability of the leaders of public institutions:Provide a clear definition of leadership of public institutions and ambit of their responsibilities; specify the process, procedures and sanctions on those leaders of state institutions where corruption occurs.

· Whistleblower protection:Provide for concrete and practical measures to guarantee confidentiality of personal identity information and safety for whistleblowers of corruption; consider mandating and empowering one institution to be in charge of whistleblower protection.

· Social engagement:Provide for concrete measures to mobilise and encourage participation of non-state organisations and individuals, as well as every ordinary citizen in the fight against corruption.

Second, it is essential to ensure that the national law enforcement and judiciary bodies have adequate capacity, resources and functional independence in their operation. We recommend that Vietnam consider establishing or designating one institution which is competent, well-resourced and independent to take charge of the entire process of inspection, investigation and prosecution of grand corruption cases.

Finally, in order to truly support and encourage active engagement from the society, the State should adopt practical and concrete incentives for the private sector, civil society and media when participating in fighting corruption.

Source: Towards Transparency