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Party Chief: Corruption must be resolutely tackled

Released at: 20:51, 29/12/2017

Party Chief: Corruption must be resolutely tackled

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (C) at the online Government meeting on Dec. 28 (Photo: VGP)

Party Chief tells online government meeting on December 28 that all measures must be taken to fight corruption.

by Quang Huy

Vietnam’s fight against corruption and waste has been stepped up in recent months, with no favors given in cases relating to high-level officials and retired leaders, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, told an online government meeting on December 28; the first time a Party Chief has attended such a meeting.

Stressing the need to perfect the socialist-oriented market economy in 2018, Mr. Trong said it is necessary to respect and make use of the rules of a market economy and international practice to ensure that the socialist orientation conforms to the country’s development conditions.

“The State plays a role in orienting, building, and improving economic institutions, creating an equal, transparent, and healthy competitive environment while using tools, policies, and resources to orient, steer, and regulate the economy, boost business and production, protect natural resources, scenic beauty spots, and the environment, and develop cultural, artistic and social fields,” Mr. Trong said.

Having acknowledged last year that immorality is eroding the Party, Mr. Trong asked authorities to broaden the crackdown to ensure that all corrupt officials are removed from the State apparatus.

“Corruption must be fought from the grassroots level and officials must maintain proper services in their own community,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, calling for better efforts to clean up the government.

With a month and a half to go before the lunar new year (Tet) holiday on February 16, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked officials around the country not to come to Hanoi bearing gifts. The beloved custom of presenting “lucky money” has become a perfect disguise for people bringing gifts to bosses and government officials in exchange for certain favors.

Spearheaded by Mr. Trong, Vietnam’s sweeping corruption cleanup has put the energy and banking sectors at the center of the fight, with scores of people being investigated.

More than 20 leaders and former leaders at the State-owned oil giant PetroVietnam have been investigated. The biggest name so far is Dinh La Thang, who was also a former PetroVietnam Chairman and was sacked from his post as the Party leader of Ho Chi Minh City in May. Mr. Thang was arrested earlier this month after being voted out of the then 19-member Politburo, the Party’s decision-making body. He may receive 20 years in jail for “deliberately violating State regulations on economic management, causing serious consequences.”

Most recently, former PetroVietnam CEO Phung Dinh Thuc faces charges for violating financial regulations on several loss-making projects and over the promotion of two executives who were caught up in serious legal turmoil - Trinh Xuan Thanh and Nguyen Xuan Son.

Runaway bigwig Thanh is a former Chairman and CEO of the PetroVietnam Construction Corporation (PVC). He faces the death penalty for causing losses of around VND3.2 trillion ($147 million) at the unit and is set to stand trial in January.

In September, Son, who served as PetroVietnam Chairman during 2014-2015, was sentenced to death for appropriating VND246 billion ($13.6 million) from OceanBank. The stake PetroVietnam bought in the bank indicates that Son stole VND49 billion ($2.2 million) in government funds.

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