Tuoi Tre: Recently, the son of the Party secretary of Hai Duong Province built a luxury villa, causing suspicion among the people regarding the source of money used to build the mansion.
President Truong Tan Sang: I have frankly told voters that if we cannot successfully prevent corruption, the implementation of the Central Resolution No 4 on Party building will not be successful.
The root thing causing ineffectiveness in the inspection of officials’ incomes is the prevalence of cash in the economy. To solve this, we must change payment methods, reducing cash in favor of bank transfers. We always want to limit thefts, robberies and embezzlements but with the prevalence of cash used nowadays, it is very difficult to curb corruption.
Regarding the case of Mr. Quyen [Bui Thanh Quyen, member of the Party Central Committee and Party secretary of Hai Duong Province. Quyen’s son built the luxury villa], the Central Inspection Commission is inspecting this. The media cited high costs [associated with building the villa. Some newspapers reported that millions of dollars were spent] but its actual cost is in doubt and we must wait for conclusion from the Central Inspection Commission.
Tuoi Tre: With such cases, many doubt the effectiveness of the current method of declaring assets and incomes of state officials.
President Truong Tan Sang: Regulations obligating officials to declare incomes and assets have been in place but in reality, the declaration has not been effective as expected. We declare [incomes and assets] every year.
However, when the economy relies too much on cash, the hiding of assets, of ill-gotten cash, not to mention money laundering via real estate, stock market, commercial banks…is easy. So we need to change and to add better controlling methods.
In the long term, we must restrict the use of cash to control under-the-table transactions and incomes with unclear origins.
If officials are bribed with houses, land plots, cars… it is possible to check this through declarations and it is difficult to hide such illegal assets from the eyes and ears of the public and of the media. But if they bribe each other with cash, it is difficult to detect under current conditions.
However, for the time being, all cases of suspected corruption that have been covered in the media must be investigated and the results must be made public.
At the meeting with voters at the Fatherland Front organization in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday, I was told two cases: about a senior official who was allocated several land plots and about a team of inspectors from Hanoi coming to Ho Chi Minh City only to be bribed with a fun night with beautiful girls at a hotel.
I immediately dispatched officials to contact the whistleblowers so that investigations will be made and results be reported to voters.
Everyday, I am told cases like that. In summary, never ignore any whistleblowers. If accusations are correct, wrongdoers will be punished.
Will not shy from “painful measures”
Tuoi Tre: The fifth meeting of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee last month put the Communist Party in the forefront of the fight against corruption. With such a change, what can the people expect from the fight against corruption?
President Truong Tan Sang: The old anti-corruption machinery has, although achieved a number of results, not prevented corruption and wastes as expected. The 11th Party Congress has concluded this.
The Central Committee has realized that the old anti-corruption machinery is not suitable. Now, the Party is directly in charge of directing, operating [in the fight against corruption] and the Party General Secretary is the person in charge of fighting corruption.
The Internal Affairs Commission of the Party is the standing organ in the fight against corruption. With our political mechanism [placing the Party in front], the shifting of the anti-corruption fight to the Party is the most significant re-organization regarding anti-corruption fights.
I believe the situation will turn for the better soon.
The fight against corruption must be successful. It is the command of the people. We have no alternative. We even have to accept painful measures because it is the survival of the Party, of the regime and the bright future of this country.
Many voters in Ho Chi Minh City have frankly told me “officials should eat [“eat” in Vietnamese means embezzling state money, accepting bribery] in moderation, how can the people eat if the officials eat everything”. It is so painful and shameful.
|“I hear many rumors that this or that official has an unusual source of income and often travels to Singapore to buy villas after villas but I have not been able to verify this”: President Truong Tan Sang |