The first draft of Vietnam’s revised anti-corruption law was published in late June by the Government Inspectorate to welcome feedback from experts and the public as the country promises to tighten its grip on dishonest conduct.
The first Anti-Corruption Law was adopted in 2005, criminalizing several types of corruption, establishing asset disclosure requirements for government officials, as well as offering protection for whistleblowers.
However, the effort has not yielded the expected results, with the country’s Anti-Corruption Law labeled a ‘toothless tiger’ by international commentators, particularly due to a large implementation gap and lack of consequences.
Speaking with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Head of the Legal Department at the Government Inspectorate Nguyen Tuan Anh said the revision was necessary to improve several points in the current anti-corruption law after over ten years of implementation.
Specifically, Anh said, the revised law would broaden its scope to include the non-government sector, as well as introducing non-criminal sanctions to handle corruption cases, including the implementation of administrative, economic, and other social measures against corrupt officials.
Anh also stressed the significance of transparency and the monitoring of officials’ properties.
He added the revised law would scrap the old requirement of annual asset disclosure and replace it with a new system of declaring properties in only three cases, which are fresh civil servants, newly promoted officials, and those who have had a major change in their asset.
The revised anti-corruption law will also allow whistleblowers to ‘suggest’ a suspicious act to the investigative body, instead of ‘denouncing’ it, which will allow citizens to take part in the process without worrying about the consequences of wrongful accusations.
“You just have to tell us that you think certain acts by certain people carry signs of corruption,” Anh said. “We, the authorized organ, will have the resources needed to determine whether or not it is indeed corruption, and to what extent."
The country’s revised Anti-Corruption Law is set to be submitted to the lawmaking National Assembly for review in October.