Dec 20, 2018 / 21:18

Vietnam should have effective tools to control asset declaration: UNODC

The Hanoitimes - A lack of specific analysis on conflict of interest together with unsubstantial asset declaration challenges Vietnam’s anti-corruption process, expert at the UNODC said.

Vietnam should build a mechanism that closely monitors the asset declaration among senior civil servants to make the country’s efforts against corruption more effective, an expert from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has said.
Francesco Checchi, UNODC's Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor. Photo: Vnexpress
Francesco Checchi, UNODC's Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor at the dialogue in Hanoi on Dec 20. Photo: VnExpress
A transparent mechanism will be an effective tool to make the declaration more trustworthy than the process at the present, Francesco Checchi, regional anti-corruption advisor, UNODC in South East Asia and the Pacific, told Hanoitimes on the sidelines of a workshop held in Hanoi on December 20.

A lack of specific analysis on conflict of interest together with unsubstantial assets declaration, and loose supervision challenges Vietnam’s anti-corruption process, Checchi pointed out. 

In a related move, the Vietnamese National Assembly has adopted the revised Law on Anti-corruption without a regulation on handling unclear origin assets. The advisor when being asked about this issue said that checking unexplainable wealth is an optional article in the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

Verifying unexplainable wealth remains controversial as it is not a crime so the accused people should not be compulsory to prove the origin of the assets. Currently, many countries impose taxes on unexplainable wealth but that solution is temporary and unhelpful to thoroughly tackle the problem. 

Experts at the dialogue. Photo: Hanoitimes
Experts at the dialogue. Photo: Hanoitimes
Tougher moves expected

Francesco Checchi recommended that Vietnam should use different tools to fight corruption, especially encouraging the participation of the whole society. 

Vietnam should facilitate and promote the participation of different sectors, mostly the private sector and the press in implementing the UNCAC, mainly when it comes to the prevention and recovery of stolen assets, the advisor emphasized. 

Civil servants should be required to add more items to the declaration form, namely loans and debts when building or buying homes, and make a report on the unclear additional income of unclear origin as well as accountability, the advisor noted. 

Echoing the expert, Cung Phi Hung, deputy head of the Inspectorate Strategy and Science Institute, said that the unsubstantial declaration is meaningless and time-consuming, and challenging the anti-corruption process. 

Vietnam’s anti-corruption programs have received support from different foreign organizations and countries after it signed the UNCAC in 2003. 

Representatives from different foreign organizations including the Australian government, the US, UK, and Danish embassies in Hanoi have said that they will extend efforts to make Vietnam’s anti-corruption fights firmer.