Commentary: Vietnam has experienced a peace time for the past four decades, which is quite rare in Vietnam’s history. Vietnamese communists have succeeded in transforming a society with high moral standards and Confucian values of respect of the elders into the most corrupted society.
Corruption is a systemic disease which permeates every level or structure of the society, which has hindered the development of the country. Ordinary citizens are being squeezed by this rotten political system.
The award-winner journalist Hoang Khuong was sentenced to 4 year prison sentence for exposing the corruption among the traffic cops.
A report published yesterday suggests that corruption in Vietnam is most prevalent and serious among traffic police, followed by land administration, customs and construction sectors.
Meanwhile the least corrupt sectors are post and telecommunications, media, treasury and the local police, according to the report.
The Government Inspectorate and the World Bank (WB) on Tuesday announced the results of their joint sociological survey on corruption from the perspective of citizens, entrepreneurs, and officials.
The survey was carried out in 10 provinces and cities across Vietnam with 5,460 respondents, including about 2,600 locals, over 1,000 business people and more than 1,800 civil servants.
Of the civil servants questioned, 45 percent said they have seen corrupt acts, while 40 percent of business people and 29 percent of citizens responded that they had to pay under-the-table money when they dealt with traffic police officers, tax officers, banking officials, customs officers, construction agencies, health service providers and others.
About 37 percent of the surveyed citizens said they sometimes tackled difficulties by bribing officials with money, and 59% of the businesses answered similarly.
While nearly 80 percent of the questioned officials blamed low salary as the main cause for taking bribes, 63 percent of businesses said that State officers have intentionally caused difficulties to force them to pay bribes.
About two-thirds of civil servants, people and entrepreneurs said that they have not dared to report corruption cases to competent agencies because they were fearful of revenge.
87 percent of the survey’s respondents demanded that a law on access to information be promulgated. They also requested that journalists not be punished criminally for shortcomings they might have committed during their professional work.
(From L) UNDP Country Director Louise Chamberlain, WB Country Director Victoria Kwakwa, and Deputy Chief Inspector of the Vietnamese Government Inspectorate Tran Duc Luong at the press conference (Photo:Tuoi Tre)
The media is considered to be an important force in the fight against corruption with over 80% of enterprises and public officials agreeing that the media successfully uncover cases and keeps them alive with some 93% of all respondents saying they obtained information about corruption scandals from the media.
Victoria Kwakwa from the World Bank, noted that corruption is a serious problem but not an insurmountable one. She added that greater accountability and transparency are the keys to curbing corruption.
The report has offered several recommendations for Vietnam to intensify its anti-corruption battle, including passing a law on access to information, fixing the land management system, building a system for resolving conflicts of interest and improving the system of income and assets declaration.
It added that streamlining administrative procedures and giving more power the media are also effective measures to phase out corruption.
Deputy Chief of the Government Inspectorate, Tran Duc Luong, said that the survey results are not fully representative of the opinions of all citizens, businesses and public officials.
He added that they do not reflect the state of corruption in Vietnam comprehensively and accurately, as well as official opinions of State agencies and survey results would be used for research purposes only.
Sources Thanh Nien, Tuoi Tre and Nhan Dan