Last updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Synchronising Anti-corruption Law with Vietnamese Legal System

Posted: Tuesday, November 06, 2018

On the agenda of the Sixth Meeting Session of the 14th National Assembly, the draft Law on Anti-corruption (2005) will be discussed before being adopted by the lawmakers.

In order to consult more anti-corruption experts on the draft, particularly on the consistency of the draft law with other related policies and regulations, the Central Committee for Internal Affairs, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Vietnam, organised a round-table conference on consistency between the amended Law on Anti-corruption and the Vietnamese legal system.

This was the fifth in a series of policy discussions on the draft Law on Anti-corruption since early 2017 held by the Central Commission for Internal Affairs and UNDP in Vietnam. These in-depth discussions provided additional inputs for lawmakers and realities of multiple perspectives on each specific issue.

Ms Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Country Director for Vietnam, said that Vietnam has changed its approaches to anti-corruption policies in comparison with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), especially in such aspects as promoting publicity, transparency and accountability, controlling conflicts of interest, encouraging anticorruption in the private sector, controlling property and income, especially property and income of officials without clear origin and having sanctions in order to strengthen law compliance.

However, Vietnam needs to consider additional gaps which need to be filled to perfect its anti-corruption framework and improve law enforcement, she said. Three main issues are: Getting illicit riches - one of policy proposals in UNCAC and Vietnam still keeps; bribery of foreign public officials, especially when this matter has been legally defined in the Penal Code of Vietnam; and criminal liability of legal entities that offer bribery.
Ms Catherine Phuong, Assistant Country Director and Team Leader for Governance and Participation, UNDP in Vietnam, said, there are similarities between the Law on Anti-corruption and UNCAC like new rules on control of conflict of interest, code of conduct, income and asset declaration and control, and corruption resistance in the private sector, and Vietnam has also localised its laws with UNCAC. But, Vietnam has issues that go beyond UNCAC recommendations.

In addition, the draft Law on Anti-corruption needs to strengthen regulations on anti-corruption in public procurement and tender; judiciary integrity; bribery of foreign public officials and public officials working for international organisations in accordance with the Penal Code (2015; criminal liability of legal persons involved in bribery (taking, receiving and mediating bribes); and more importantly, illicit enrichment - one of major barriers to controlling rising implicit assets and incomes, she said. Besides, Ms Catherine also underlined equity to the law of individuals and organisations when she remarked on some provisions of the current Law on Anti-corruption applied to listed companies, credit institutions and non-state civil society.

With respect to consistency between the Law on Anti-corruption and legal normative documents regulating the private sector, Vietnamese policymakers should take into more consideration, she said. Vietnam is increasingly integrated into the world economy, with more and more liberal trade commitments. Hence, enterprises active in Vietnam are obliged to fully comply with international principles and standards on corruption control and integrity enhancement in business operations. In addition to consolidating private-sector anti-corruption principles in the Law on Anti-corruption, there is a need to integrate requirements of publicity, transparency and anti-corruption into legal documents such as the Law on Enterprises, the Law on Credit Institutions, and the Law on Securities. This shows the urgency of a comprehensive review of consistency and relevance of those laws with the Law on Anti-corruption (amended) after being promulgated.

Ms Catherine also stressed that resisting corruption is not the sole responsibility of the government, but also of all individuals and organisations because they are both agents and victims of corruption in an environment seriously affected by sleaze. “Compliance costs are less than corruption costs,” she concluded.

Quynh Anh

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