On October 30, the Prime Minister of Vietnam signed to promulgate Decree No. 130/2020 / ND-CP on controlling assets and income of state and party officials. This Decree comes into force from December 20, 2020.
Attached to the Decree is the declaration form and guidance on the declaration of assets and income for the first time, the annual declaration, the declaration for the service of cadres.
The persons expected to be appointed to the position of leadership, manager at the agency, unit or at the State enterprise must publicize this property declaration.
The publicity is done in the form of announcement at the meeting to take the vote of confidence.
Lawyer Tran Quoc Thuan, former deputy chairman of the Vietnam National Assembly Office, commented:
“In the law of civil servants, there is also a story about property declaration. In the fight against corruption, there are also talks of asset declaration, even if not honestly, they are taxed and having property confiscated, etc.
But in Vietnam, it is very difficult, because if you keep doing that, who will handle who? People kept saying happily that one officer, after 75 in the war zone, only had a backpack to carry on his back. Now for the houses on their backs. Who criticizes whom now!
If we can do it strongly, widely, and do it well, we will publicize our assets to the people. But in a narrow range, it is openly within the Party. But within the Party must run, stand for election, everything will be exposed. Just looking at the slogan, the word, it is extremely beautiful, but lack of mechanisms, lack of appropriate institutions, the implementation goes nowhere.”
According to Mr. Tran Quoc Thuan, giving the ordinary people to vote and run for free is what he calls “a dream.” Now we just need to do the basic steps of voting, free election within the Party. Because when people run to compete with each other, naturally people will tell everything, openly everything.
Former Trade Minister Le Van Triet said that a policy of asset declaration is normal if such declaration is to clarify the transparency and authenticity of their assets. The problem here is declaration, what is the next step. He expressed his opinion:
“What law does the State carry out by that declaration? Is it consistent with the rules and customs of society? Is it consistent with the state regulations set out for those who have the right to do business or have a legitimate income? Unwarranted income is another matter.
I heard that in some large agencies such as the Politburo or some other high-ranking agencies, there are regulations that officials must declare all assets. I heard but I don’t see the text. And people also declare. The problem is that the declaration is then left there, but no one has to check and see if the declaration is correct or not.”
The declaration of property of officials has been talked about in recent years when many of the bureaucratic properties of officials were exposed in the newspaper. For example, the special office of the director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Yen Bai province, Mr. Pham Sy Quy, or the special residence of Mr. Hoang Quoc Khanh, chairman of the Inspection Committee of Son La Provincial Party Committee. At the end of 2014, the media talked about two groups of villas illegally built at the foot of Hai Van mountain, Da Nang,. The owner is Mr. Phan Nhu Thach – a retired police general and a golden giant trader named Ngo Van Quang.
At the end of 2019, Hanoi City Chief Inspector Nguyen An Huy submitted to the Hanoi People’s Committee a 2020 inspection plan, and this plan was approved by the then chairman of the People’s Committee of Hanoi, Mr. Nguyen Duc Chung. This plan has the task of inspecting and examining the declaration of assets of objects subject to property declaration according to the regulations and direction of the Central Committee, City Party Committee, Hanoi People’s Committee.
Decree 130/2020 / ND-CP was issued specifying the level of discipline for those who make false declarations or disperse assets.
Accordingly, the person with the obligation to declare without truthful declaration, explaining the origin of the additional assets and income dishonestly shall, depending on the nature and extent, be handled according to the provisions of Article 51 of Anti-Corruption Law.
The person with the obligation to declare but disperses or hides assets and income, obstructs the control of assets and income, fails to submit the declaration after 2 times of being urged in writing, depending on the nature, the level of violation is handled by one of the forms of warning, salary downgrade, demotion, dismissal, forced resignation, and rank demotion.
Mr. Le Van Triet commented on the form of discipline in the newly issued Decree:
“I think that if declaring, but assets are dispersed or concealed, it is not true, it will violate the provisions and decrees on property declaration. If declaring, they must declare clearly and not disperse. Having dispersed is a non-transparent property. That is the first one. The second one, if the declaration is not true, there are 10 but only 1, then people have the right to consider and handle. That must be the way to be fair in society, to be strict in declaring property, to be transparent in property ownership.
According to those who are concerned, if they want to discipline the dishonest declarer, first of all, they must prove that this person is not making false statements. That is very difficult in the current Vietnamese institution.
Lawyer Tran Quoc Thuan said that it is very difficult to discipline violators because according to the current institutions in Vietnam, leaders are appointed, not elected. They have power. Hardly anyone can ask them to declare their property honestly.
However, to be fair, they still have disciplinary measures against those who are scapegoat.”
At the end of 2019, two officers in Khanh Hoa province were disciplined for their violation in asset and income declaration.
The first person is Mr. Dinh Sy Hiep, member of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee, Head of the People’s Committee of Cam Ranh City Party Committee. Mr. Hiep was disciplined by the Khanh Hoa Provincial Party Inspection Committee in the form of a warning because he did not declare a debt of VND67.6 million in land use fees in 2014 and the land in Cam Duc town in 2016 and 2017. He also did not declare a debt of VND600 million in 2016 and 2017.
The second person is Mr. Nguyen Thanh Nam, chairman of People’s Committee of Van Thanh commune, Van Ninh district.
Mr. Nam did not declare the property as a car that he received authorization from an American overseas Vietnamese, he also held VND48 million to liquidate 2 ground lease contracts on Diep Son Island of 2 individuals. He was disciplined by Khanh Hoa Provincial Party Committee in the form of dismissal.
“Leaders from top to bottom, from top to bottom, they are so blatantly corrupt to the extent that whoever dares to do anything?” a comment reader.
“In the whole Vietnamese communist system, there are no officials who don’t get corrupt and bribe. The appearance of anti-corruption policies and decrees is also just a form of demagogy. Living in this S-shaped country can understand what the ruling Communist Party. They don’t know how to fight corruption but suggest this, what do they act against corruption? They fight against corruption, why do their children have money to study abroad, buy a foreign house, where they live in grand villas and buy foreign citizenship?!.
Firing is a cover for Criminals and Communist Party members, and officially recognize property obtained from corruption. Thus, the communist members are very happy, the more they brutally steal the property of the country then were expelled, they once again take millions of dollars to live abroad,” another reader expressed an opinion.