The Problem of Corruption in Vietnam Part I

By | May 9, 2021

The corruption is one of the largest domestic problems, which the Communist Party of Vietnam has to face. A number of studies on the subject of “corruption in Vietnam” are now available. According to this, there are sometimes noticeable discrepancies between the respondents’ perception and experiences with corruption. The police, the education system and the health care system are identified as areas in cities that are particularly susceptible to corruption. It is noticeable that a large number of those questioned cited as a reason for bribery that they wanted to “speed up” things in this way. Another analysis of the problem of corruption in Vietnam emphasizes that, among other things, the Vietnamese “tradition” of buying an office is the cause of corruption: the capital invested must be “brought back”.

Mainly to curb corruption in rural areas, the government issued a decree in May 1998 that has come to be known as the Grassroots Democracy Decree. The aim of this initiative, which was primarily a reaction to the peasant unrest in the north Vietnamese province of Thai Binh in 1997, is to make the administration at the local level more transparent and to give the citizens more control options and rights to participate. Frequent protests by farmers against illegal land occupation by local officials suggest that abuse of power in the countryside is still widespread.

According to constructmaterials, the fact that the judicial system in Vietnam is very slow, as well as the lack of trust of the population in the police and the legal system in general, mean that many Vietnamese take the law into their own hands. In addition, minor traffic accidents often lead to violent clashes between those involved. Also of extreme cases of vigilantism reports – as the province of Bac Giang were in a village two dogs thieves – dog meat is popular in North Vietnam – slain by the population.

In October 2010, Huynh Ngoc Si, the director of a major infrastructure project, was sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting large bribes from Japanese investors. The sentence was reduced to 20 years in prison in 2011.

In November 2013, two of the main defendants were sentenced to death in a further trial against employees of the Vietnamese Agribank who had embezzled massive amounts of money. The tougher pace was also maintained at the trial of former managers of the state shipbuilding company Vinalines in December 2013: here, too, two of the accused received the maximum sentence. Likewise, in January 2014, a bank manager was sentenced to life imprisonment for embezzling money.

Other cases such as the court case against Tran Ngoc Suong, the head of a successful cooperative in the Mekong Delta, show that the fight against corruption is also done by local authorities for their own interests – in this case the occupation of rice land for the construction of the joint venture. Company – being abused.

The CP of Vietnam is trying to take back the initiative in the fight against corruption through a newly established “Central Commission for Internal Affairs”. The chairman of the commission was Nguyen Ba Thanh, the respected former party leader of Da Nang. However, this did not make the leap into the Politburo and has also been treated in the USA since around mid-2014. In January 2015, Nguyen Ba Thanh was taken to Da Nang for further treatment. Speculations that he was poisoned were rejected by Vietnamese officials. Nguyen Ba Thanh died in February 2015 just before the Vietnamese New Year celebrations at the age of 61.

According to a new decree, civil servants must disclose their income by the end of November 2013 if it exceeds a certain amount. In October 2014, Huynh Phong Tranh, the head of the State Audit Office, said that nearly a million cadres had made such declarations the previous year, but that there was only one case of inaccuracy. The fundamental problem is that the income statements do not have to be made public and are only checked internally. In 2018, for example, only one possible irregularity was found in 37,000 income declarations by officials in Ho Chi Minh City, which was also criticized by the local party leader Nguyen Thien Nhan.

At its 12th party congress in January 2016, the party leadership had to admit that despite the increased efforts in recent years, little progress had been made in the fight against corruption. The party leader Nguyen Phu Trong expressed – perhaps unintentionally – the dilemma of the Vietnamese Communist Party in the fight against corruption when he said that “one has to catch the mouse, but not smash any china”. The porcelain stands for the Communist Party of Vietnam, which cannot be harmed and whose authority must not be undermined.

The same Nguyen Phu Trong, however, has intensified the fight against corruption since his re-election in 2016 – the main target are politicians and managers who are said to be in close contact with former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. So lost Dinh La Thang, the party chief of Ho Chi Minh City, in May 2017 his seat in the Politburo because mismanagement was accused as director of the state company PetroVietnam in his time him.

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