Sunday, 23/9/2018
We are determined to prevent and step by step repel corruption to build clean and strong organizational apparatus and cadre contingent, strengthen people's confidence in the Party and State *
10/8/2018 15:58' Send Print
General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong. Photo: VNA

After an intensive and responsible working day, the National Conference on Anti-Corruption completed its content and agenda.

The conference heard the Report on anti-corruption situation, and progress in the past time, especially since the 12th Party Congress to date, tasks and solutions in the coming time.

Most of you, in general, expressed high unanimity with the Report, while supplementing and clarifying many issues, adding more experiences and good practices in leading and directing, and proposing, recommending and highlighting some solutions to further anti-corruption efforts in the coming time. To conclude the conference, I would like to clarify some issues:

Overview of anti-corruption since the 12th Party Congress

We are pleased to note that, after more than two years implementing the Resolution of the 12th Party Congress, despite many difficulties and challenges, given efforts of the whole Party and people, our country continues developing and has achieved quite comprehensive results in almost all areas.

Macroeconomy has been stable; major balances have been guaranteed; inflation has come under control; more attention has been given to social security; for the first time in many years, we completed and surpassed socio-economic targets, achieving GDP growth of 6.81% which is high compared to many countries in the region and the world.

National defense and security have been strengthened. Foreign relations have been expanded, and deepened, Vietnam’s position and prestige in the international arena have been further enhanced. Party building and rectification, and the political system have been strengthened.

Particularly, affirmative and drastic leadership has been given to anti-corruption work, resulting in positive and clear achievements, leaving good impression and being applauded, sympathized and supported by people, positively acknowledged and evaluated by international organizations. Corruption has gradually been controlled and tended to reduce. These have contributed to maintaining political stability, socio-economic development, strengthening people's confidence in the Party and State. Notably:

1. Many Party regulations and State laws were promulgated to strengthen the work of building the Party, and political system and preventing and combating corruption, which are educational, deterrent and preventive, and serve as the basis for detection and handling of violations.

At the same time, the Party Central Committee, the Political Bureau, the Party Secretariat and the Party's advisory bodies have issued many new and strong lines and measures on party building and rectification and anti-corruption; many regulations and resolutions have been thoroughly studied and strictly implemented, acting as effective warnings and prevention measures. The National Assembly, the Government and relevant ministries and agencies have paid attention to reviewing, amending, supplementing and promulgating many legal provisions on socio-economic management and anti-corruption, overcoming loopholes and constraints of the law, conducive to negative phenomena and corruption.

It can be said that up to now party lines, and legal documents on anti-corruption are relatively complete. What is most needed is self-consciousness, high unanimity of will, action, and organization of implementation.

2. Affirmative and close leadership has been given to inspection, supervision, and audit to detect and strictly handle violations while discipline and order have been tightened, contributing to improve anti-corruption effectiveness.

Party committees, and inspection committees at all levels have stepped up proactive and drastic leadership in inspection and supervision, focusing on key issues and selected targets, sensitive and complicated domains and areas where violations can easily arise, problems that draw wide attention of cadres, party members and people; concluded and clarified many violations, subsequently made decisions or suggested strict, accurate discipline measures in time towards violating organizations and individuals.

After more than two years implementing the Resolution of the 12th Party Congress, party committees, inspection committees at all levels carried out disciplinary measures on more than 490 party organizations and 35,000 members of whom, nearly 1,300 party members violated anti-corruption regulations or intentionally did the contrary.

The Central Commission for Inspection has clarified many especially serious violations, decided discipline measures and requested the Central Party Committee, the Politburo and the Secretariat to discipline many senior officials and violating party organization, including members of the Party Central Committee, member of the Politburo, incumbent and retired cadres, even in the armed forces, strictly from top down.

This is a breakthrough in inspection and discipline of the Party, helping tighten order and discipline in the Party and State apparatus which is supported and highly appreciated by officials, party members and people.

Inspection and audit agencies have concentrated on inspecting and auditing corruption-prone domains, especially prolonged loss-making projects of public concern.

Reports on inspections and audits recommended to recover to the State budget assets worth about VND170.000 billion, and over 12 thousand hectares of land; make amendments, supplements, replacements and cancellations of more than 300 state management documents in all fields which are no longer suitable. Requests were also made to competent authorities to review responsibility of many collectives and individuals committing violations. Nearly 200 cases were transferred to the competent agencies to investigate, clarify and handle according to provisions of law.

The Central Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption organized 31 missions to inspect and supervise the inspection of cases, investigation, prosecution and adjudication of corruption and economic mismanagement cases at 63 province and cities and directed handle 452 economic mismanagement and corruption cases.

It is praiseworthy that in some localities, party committees, and authorities have paid attention to leading and directing inspection and control; detected and handled in time corruption cases committed by cadres and party members including those in Party Standing Committees, permanent members of Party Standing Committees; in some localities typically Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Da Nang cities and Son La, Dac Lac, Can Tho provinces, the practice of “hot top, cold bottom” has been initially overcome.

3. The discovery and handling of cases, investigations, prosecution and adjudication of corruption and economic mismanagement cases have been pushed up and made positive and clear changes, which are considered as bright spots in anti-corruption efforts recently.

Many serious and complicated corruption and economic mismanagement cases, including those which have existed many years, have been detected, strictly and publically punished. The punishments were strict but also very humane, rationally demonstrating the viewpoint "Words match deeds; there is no such things as “no-go” zone, exception, privilege," contributing to enhancing the Party prestige and fighting strength and serving as effective warnings and deterring measures. Some of the cases include those of Duong Chi Dung, Vu Quoc Hao, Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu, Pham Cong Danh, Ha Van Tham, Giang Kim Dat, Dinh La Thang, Trinh Xuan Thanh, Phan Van Anh Vu, (Vu Nhom), Dinh Ngoc He (Ut Troc), gambling and gambling organization in Phu Tho and some localities.

Remarkably, more attention has been given to recovering assets in corruption cases; in some economic mismanagement and corruption cases, the recovered assets have relatively high value of more than VND 300 billion in Giang Kim Dat case, more than 10.000 billion in Hua Thi Phan case, more than 2,000 billion in East Asia Bank case, more than 6,000 billion in Pham Cong Danh case (Phase I), more than 20 billion in Dinh La Thang case, 45 billion in Trinh Xuan Thanh case, more than 8,500 billion in AVG case.

4. The development and implementation of mechanisms and policies on organization and personnel for corruption prevention and fighting have seen clear changes; efforts have been made to direct administrative reform, transparency, accountability in the activities of agencies, organizations and units and positive results have been made.

The Party Central Committee, the Politburo, and the Secretariat have carried out reforms, persistently and clearly directed the settlement of remaining problems in personnel work; "No illegal running for position and power" has become a strong manifesto.

Performance review method for senior officials has been more accurate; rotation of cadres has been carried out more systematically.

The Government, ministries, branches and localities have stepped up administrative reform and transparency, improved the investment and business environment, enhanced national competitiveness, and contributed significantly to economic growth and prevention of negative phenomena and corruption.

Party committees, administration, leaders at all levels have paid more attention to reception, organization of dialogues, response to feedback, proposals, problems and people’s concern.

5. Information and communication innovation has promoted the role of the media in anti-corruption.

Results of inspection, control and handling of economic mismanagement and corruption cases have been made public; information on sensitive issues of public concerns has been provided, thus helped lead public opinions and also showed transparency in the handling of corruption of the Party and the State.

The media has actively cooperated with functional agencies in preventing and fighting corruption, providing wide coverage to anti-corruption work, and the fight against hostile forces’ misleading allegations about the prevention and fight against corruption of our Party and State.

6. Efforts have been made to complete organization, improve quality and efficiency of operation and coordination among functional anti-corruption agencies and units.

The Steering Committee has made innovations in terms of contents and mode of operation, attaching importance to improving its work effectiveness; seriously, responsibly and systematically accomplished assigned tasks, some of which surpassed requirements; after each meeting of the Steering Committee, or the Standing Board of the Steering Committee, the situation has changed dramatically.

Members of the Steering Committee have been very active, responsible and closely and resolutely directing the implementation of programs and work plans of the Steering Committee. The Central Committee of Internal Affairs, the Standing Board of the Steering Committee, has been more proactive, close and affirmative and made more efforts in advising, proposing and assisting the Steering Committee to develop and organize the implementation of programs, and work plans more effectively.

The Party inspection agencies and auditing agencies, law enforcement agencies, procuracy agencies and courts have been increasingly, actively and effectively engaged in anti-corruption; Specialized anti-corruption units continue to step up professional activities to detect and handle corruption cases. Collaboration between anti-corruption agencies and functional units has been increasingly and effectively tightened.

These achievements show that positive changes in party building and rectification, the fight against corruption and negative phenomena have contributed to strengthening people’s trust, creating consensus and enthusiasm among people. And this is a great source of motivation for us to accomplish well the tasks set out, and develop the country quickly and sustainably.

There are concerns that too much attention to fighting corruption, and party building, rectification will "deter" direction or development. On the contrary, good work in party building, and anti-corruption has contributed to promoting socio-economic development, security, national defense and foreign affairs.

However, beside achievements we must also frankly acknowledge that there remain constraints and limitations in the fight against corruption as identified by the Report.

Anti-corruption work in some localities and ministries has not changed dramatically. There are still "hot top and cold bottom" situation, evasion, and avoidance of friction; The detection and handling of corruption has not yet met requirements; Internal inspection, detection and handling of corruption within agencies and units have been weak.

Harassment, negative phenomena in the administrative sector, public services have still caused resentment among people, and businesses.

The main causes of these limitation are party committees, organizations, authorities, heads of agencies, organizations and units have not fully been aware of the seriousness of corruption in their localities, or areas under their management; have not really been exemplary and affirmative in leading, directing, performing anti-corruption tasks.

A number of cadres, party members, public employees, civil servants, including leaders or managers has not exercised self-training or improving, shown signs of degradation in political ideology, ethics, lifestyle, and committed acts of harassment, negative behavior, and corruption.

Institutions, policies and laws in some areas have been inadequate, not highly feasible; there has been no mechanism strong enough to strictly control power; due attention has not been paid to monitoring and supervising the exercise of power by persons in high positions and with power; this easily leads to the power abuse for personal gains; regimes on responsibility and public services have not been clear and specific.

In general, law enforcement, order and discipline in some branches and areas have not been strict. The organizational structure, authority, facilities and working conditions of anti-corruption functional agencies and units have not yet commensurate with their assigned functions and tasks. The capacity and qualifications of a section of cadres and public servants have not met requirements.

On orientations, tasks and solutions in the coming time

At present, our country is facing new requirements and tasks with new opportunities, advantages, difficulties and challenges.

The cause of innovation, international integration, rapid and sustainable national development is moving into a higher and new phase which is more difficult and complex than before. The situation in the country and in the world has changed rapidly, complicatedly and unpredictably.

Important and laudable results have been made in anti-corruption in implementing the Resolution of the 12th Party Congress during the first half of the tenure. However, corruption prevention is an important task, which must be carried out regularly, continuously, resolutely and persistently. We should not be self-satisfied with the results achieved.

All senior officials and party members, first and foremost, heads of organizations, units must be exemplary, highly self-conscious, and willful and take lead and actions to fight against corruption; be not afraid of losing prestige or making mistakes, but must take bold actions to maintain prestige, gain people’s trust and be transparent to let the people know, support and supervise.

They must rely on people, listen to people, be determined to do and fulfill what people agree and support while resolutely prevent, rectify and strictly handle wrongdoings that people do not agree, hate, and protest.

In addition to strictly handling cases of wrongdoing, we also need a mechanism to protect and encourage cadres, Party members; leaders must dare to think, do, take responsibility, bravely lead innovation for the development of the country; Assessment and review of wrongdoings must also be based on specific historical conditions and circumstances in order to have objective and appropriate viewpoints for settlement.

In addition, it is necessary to resolutely fight against erroneous viewpoints, reject the distortion of hostile forces, bad elements who want to take advantage of the struggle against corruption to instigate internal division, defame and besmirch the Party, State and our regime.

Our conference agree and expressed high unanimity on the tasks and solutions identified by the Report in the coming time. I want to emphasize and raise some additional issues:

First, continue stepping up communication and education to raise awareness and high unanimity of will and action among senior officials, party members and people in corruption prevention and fighting.

Communication must help affirm clearly the will of the Party and State on anti-corruption; make people see clearly that party rectification and discipline of senior officials, and party members do not “slow down” development, but on the contrary, purify and generate strength of apparatus and cadres, enhance people's trust, create new motivation and momentum to successfully accomplish all tasks, high unanimity of will and action of senior officials, party members and people.

It is necessary to intensify the coordination, promptly provide and publicize information and communication on anti-corruption, information on the results of inspection, control and handling of violators as cadres and party members, information on prosecution, investigation, and trial of economic mismanagement and corruption cases and information on sensitive issues in anti-corruption of public concerns.

Attach importance to publicize "good people, good deeds," stop one-way communication, and provision of inaccurate, and instigative information, which cause perplexity or speculate counts and verdicts before trials. Protect, reward and motivate journalists who courageously combat corruption. Counter distortion allegations of hostile forces, which take advantage of anti-corruption to sabotage the Party, and State. Strictly handle cases of misinformation, slanderous allegations, fabrication which cause bad consequences.

Persist in exercising integrity, practicing thrift and the culture of anti-corruption among cadres, party members, public employees, and civil servants. First and foremost, consciously abide by, strictly implement Party regulations and State law on anti-corruption and waste prevention; take initiative in handling conflicts of interests; develop and implement well code of conduct; criticize, condemn, fight against corruption, and waste; Respect honor, and be ashamed when committing corruption and waste.

In particular, the press and mass media must encourage and engage the entire political system, mobilize the strength of the entire people in the struggle against corruption, "make the public despite embezzlement, waste, bureaucracy; turn vigilant eyes, and ears of million of people into lights shining everywhere, so that embezzlement, waste, bureaucracy have no place to hide,"(1), as Uncle Ho put it.

Second, concentrate on directing the development and completion of Party regulations, State policies and laws on anti-corruption; strive to basically conclude a step, from now to the end of the term, to develop a strict mechanism to make “corruption impossible.”

Focus on completing Party regulations on anti-corruption in implementing Resolutions of the 4th, 6th, and 7th plenums of the Party Central Committee, particularly the regulation on exemplary role of cadres and party members, power control, responsibility of the heads in realization of their tasks, power, accountability, democracy, and transparency; prevention of power abuse for personal gains of persons in high positions with power, firing, dismissal and resignation of leaders and executives, transfer or replacement of cadres when they have signs of negative phenomena, corruption or low prestige, mechanism to encourage and protect cadres who dare to think, work, make breakthroughs, take responsibility for common interests.

The National Assembly and the Government are requested to concentrate on promptly directing reception of opinions from the public and finalization of the Law on Anti-Corruption (amended), ensuring its feasibility and effectiveness; early promulgate the Law on Protection of State Secrets; amend and supplement the Law on Judicial Assessment, the Law on Inspection, the Law on Cadres and Public Servants, the Law on Civil Servants and documents detailing the law implementation to remove limitations and bottlenecks in anti-corruption.

Speed up the development and perfection of mechanisms, policies and laws; remove loopholes in socio-economic management and anti-corruption, especially in corruption-prone areas.

Third, step up party inspection, supervision, and discipline; build a contingent of senior officials with sufficient virtue, capacity and prestige on par with their assigned tasks in the new situation.

Continue to build the Party and the political system, prevent and repel degeneration in political ideology, ethics, lifestyles, manifestation of "self-evolution" and "self-transformation"; strongly struggle against individualism, selfishness, and "group interests.”

Tighten order and discipline within the Party and the State apparatus; Violators must be handled rigorously and publicly in time.

Party committees and organizations must strengthen the management and supervision of cadres and party members in order to promptly detect and deal with wrongdoings early and prevent them from the very beginning; intensify inspection and supervision work so as to promptly detect, prevent and handle corruption acts.

The purpose of discipline is to give “life-saving treatment," warning, deterrence, so the motto is strict and early prevention, early detection, early handling to prevent small violations from accumulating into big cases. Strengthen supervision of party organizations from top to bottom, and vice versa, step up mutual supervision in the same level, strengthen management and routine supervision for party members and leading cadres.

Strictly carry out party discipline, and at the same time, party discipline cannot be replaced by administrative, corporate disciplines and other legal forms of punishment; party members who violate the law to the extent of criminal liability prosecution must be subject to criminal liability prosecution. Violators as party members in whatever position must be strictly handled, strictly from top to grassroots levels; in those units which through self-inspection do not detect or detect but do not punish violators properly, party committees, heads of such units, agencies, localities shall be accountable and subject to proper discipline instead of “drawing lessons” in general.

Assign the Central Commission on Inspection to direct, inspect, supervise and enforce party discipline down to district and grassroots levels when necessary, avoid internal cover up of violations in localities, agencies and units.

Focus on overcoming weaknesses in cadre work, and mistakes made by cadres that cause public concern. Conduct comprehensive inspection of cadre work; give special attention to inspecting and supervising cadres who show signs of corruption, reported by people to commit corruption, who are leaders, managers at all levels and who are planned take leading positions in future.

Party committees, and organizations, ministries, branches and administrations at all levels and cadres and party members must clearly identify, resolutely and effectively fight against wrongdoings, group and personal interests; expose those illegally "running for position and power”; defend the right, point out the wrong, prevent wrongdoings, detect and deal in time power abuse and capitalization to commit wrongdoings or give a hand to people who illegally “run for positions and power "; annul, revoke wrong decisions in personnel work and at the same time strictly handle organizations, individuals committing breaches and corruption in personnel work; effectively implement the line to appoint a number of leading officials who are not local people at provincial and district levels.

Resolutely carry out the reorganization of apparatus, streamline organizations, reform official service regime, restructure the contingent of cadres, public and civil servants, reform salary policy; build up a contingent of senior officials, especially at strategic level with sufficient virtue, capacity and prestige on par with their assigned tasks in keeping with Resolutions of the 6th plenum, 7th plenum of the Party Central Committee.

Fourth, enhance and improve the effectiveness of supervision and control of power in order to prevent and combat corruption.

Power is always at risk of being "corrupted," corruption is the "innate disability" of power, so a mechanism must be set up to control power exercise of people who are vested with power and authority based on the principle that all powers must be strictly controlled by the mechanism; power must be bound to responsibility, authority corresponds to responsibility, the higher the authority the heavier the responsibility.

Therefore, it is necessary to intensify inspection, supervision and control to ensure that power is used in a transparent, proper and uncorrupted manner; assignment and decentralization must be linked with allocation of power and responsibilities, and at the same time strictly handle, transfer, dismiss or replace cadres who show signs of corruption causing public concern; heads of organization must be strictly accountable for corruption in their agencies, organizations or units under their management; and more importantly, to fundamentally prevent the root causes of errors and mistakes by Party regulations, and State law or literally to "contain power in a mechanism cage."

Strengthen supervision of the use of the power of leading cadres, especially the heads, push up internal supervision within the collective leadership; make public the process of power use according to law for cadres and people to supervise.

Leaders at all levels must bear in mind that no one has absolute power above the law. Anyone who uses the power must serve people, be responsible before people, and subject to people’s supervision.

Public funds are of the public, so not a penny is used wastefully, public power is for people, so it is not used for personal gains; Some good practices include public-spiritedness and selflessness, clear division between public and private interests, public interests first, public interests must not be at the expense of private interests; everything comes from the people, and for the people.

Fifth, improve the capacity to detect and handle corruption cases, especially in localities and grassroots levels; effectively handle and prevent "petty corruption" cases; improve recovery of corrupted assets.

It is necessary to focus on leadership, direction to make stronger and more visible changes in detecting and handling corruption in localities and organizations, overcoming the situation of " hot top and cold bottom."

Focus inspection, control and audit in areas where there are complicated problems of public concern, negatively phenomena and corruption-prone areas; handle and prevent bribery-asking practice, harassment, causing troubles for people and businesses.

Speed up the process of verification, investigation and handling corruption and economic mismanagement cases, especially serious and complicated cases of public special concern; strictly handle these cases according to Party regulations and State law; there is no “no-go” area, no privilege, no exception.

Supplement and complete regulations on responsibilities of organizations and individuals performing inspection, audits but fail to detect errors which are exposed by other inspection teams. Take appropriate, convenient and safe solutions to encourage and promptly process information reported by people.

Actively verify, promptly apply measures to distrain property, blockade accounts, recover fully corrupted assets in the process of inspection, control, audit, investigation, prosecution, trial and execution of sentences; encourage offenders to voluntarily pay compensation and overcome the consequences in corruption or economic mismanagement cases.

Sixth, continue perfecting organizational and cadre structure, improve capacity of anti-corruption agencies and units.

Further consolidate and bring into play the role of anti-corruption agencies and supporting units to party committees from the central to grassroots levels. Agencies in charge of internal affairs, inspection, supervision, investigation, procuracy and adjudication must act as sharp "swords," brace themselves up to prevent wrongdoings, group interests, personal interests; be capable and show strong stuff to protect the right, identify the wrong, and prevent wrongdoings; issue regulations to effectively prevent impacts beyond Party regulations and State law of the State on the operation of these agencies.

What is of particularly decisive significance is that those who involve in anti-corruption in general and those who directly work in the anti-corruption agencies in particular must be truly honest, clean, exemplary, respectful of honor, and do not yield to any unclear pressures, any temptation or bribery of violators.

Anti-corruption is a difficult, complex and long-term task. From our experience and achievements, especially after the 12th Party Congress, we have grounds to believe that with high political will of the Party and State, active participation of party committees, administration, the political system and the whole society, the anti-corruption work in the coming time will continue to achieve more positive and obvious results; corruption will certainly be prevented and repelled and this contributes to building strong and clean Party, and State, meeting requirements of the revolution and people’s expectations.

I request you, first of all, heads of agencies, organizations and units to heighten sense of responsibility before the Party, people and country, to be exemplary, take lead in leadership, direction and implementation of anti-corruption tasks and solutions, especially focus on improving efficiency of detecting and strictly and promptly handling negative phenomena and corruption cases within ministries, branches, localities, agencies and units, contributing to the common success of the country.

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Title selected by the Communist Review

(1) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, the National Political Publishing House-the Truth, Hanoi, 2011, Vol.13, p. 419

This article was published in the Communist Review No. 909 (July 2018)

Nguyen Phu TrongGeneral Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam