Vietnam is an important country geopolitically


The problem of corruption

Corruption is one of the biggest domestic political problems that the CP of Vietnam has to face. A number of studies on the subject of "corruption in Vietnam" are now available. According to this, there are sometimes noticeable discrepancies between the respondents' perception and experiences with corruption. The police, the education system and the health service are named as areas in cities that are particularly prone to corruption. It is noticeable that very many of the respondents cited as a reason for bribery that they wanted to "speed up" things in this way. Another analysis of the problem of corruption in Vietnam emphasizes that, among other things, the Vietnamese "tradition" of buying an office is the cause of corruption: the capital invested must be "brought back".

Mainly to curb corruption in the countryside, the government issued a decree in May 1998 that has come to be known as the Grassroots Democracy Decree. The aim of this initiative, which was primarily a reaction to the peasant unrest in the north Vietnamese province of Thai Binh in 1997, is to make the administration at the local level more transparent and to give the citizens more control options and rights to participate. Frequent protests by farmers against illegal land occupation by local officials suggests that abuse of power in the countryside is still widespread.

The fact that the judicial system in Vietnam is very slow, as well as the lack of trust of the population in the police and the legal system in general, mean that many Vietnamese people take the law into their own hands. In addition, minor traffic accidents often lead to violent clashes between those involved. Extreme cases of vigilante justice are also reported - for example, two dog thieves - dog meat is popular in North Vietnam - were killed by the population in a village in Bac Giang Province.

In October 2010, Huynh Ngoc Si, the director of a major infrastructure project, was sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting large bribes from Japanese investors. The sentence was reduced to 20 years in prison in 2011.

In another trial against employees of the Vietnamese Agribank who had embezzled money on a massive scale, two of the main defendants were sentenced to death in November 2013. The tougher pace was also maintained at the trial of former managers of the state shipbuilding company Vinalines in December 2013: here, too, two of the accused received the maximum sentence. Likewise, in January 2014, a bank manager was sentenced to life imprisonment for embezzling money.

Other cases, such as the court case against Tran Ngoc Suong, the head of a successful cooperative in the Mekong Delta, show that the fight against corruption can also be done by local authorities for their own interests - in this case the occupation of rice land for the construction of the joint venture. Company - being abused.

The CP of Vietnam is trying to take back the initiative in the fight against corruption through a newly established "Central Commission for Internal Affairs". The chairman of the commission was Nguyen Ba Thanh, the respected former party leader of Da Nang. However, this did not make the leap into the Politburo and has also been treated in the USA since around mid-2014. In January 2015, Nguyen Ba Thanh was taken to Da Nang for further treatment. Speculations that he was poisoned were rejected by Vietnamese officials. Nguyen Ba Thanh died in February 2015 just before the Vietnamese New Year celebrations at the age of 61.

According to a new decree, civil servants must disclose their income by the end of November 2013 if it exceeds a certain amount. In October 2014, Huynh Phong Tranh, the head of the State Audit Office, said that nearly a million cadres had made such declarations the previous year, but that there was only one case of inaccuracy. The fundamental problem is that the income statements do not have to be made public and are only checked internally. In 2018, 37,000 income declarations by officials in Ho Chi Minh City were found to have only one possible irregularity, which was also criticized by the local party leader Nguyen Thien Nhan.

At its 12th party congress in January 2016, the party leadership had to admit that despite the increased efforts in recent years, little progress had been made in the fight against corruption. The party leader Nguyen Phu Trong expressed - perhaps unintentionally - the dilemma of the Vietnamese Communist Party in the fight against corruption when he said that "you have to catch the mouse, but not smash any china". The porcelain stands for the Communist Party of Vietnam, which cannot be harmed and whose authority must not be undermined.

The same Nguyen Phu Trong, however, has intensified the fight against corruption since his re-election in 2016 - the main target are politicians and managers who are said to have close ties to the former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Dinh La Thang, the party leader of Ho Chi Minh City, lost his seat in the Politburo in May 2017 because he was accused of mismanagement during his time as director of the state company Petro Vietnam.

In August 2017, the Vice Minister of Commerce Ho Thi Kim Thoa lost her position - she was also accused of corruption.

In mid-2016, Trinh Xuan Thanh, a former director of a company belonging to Petro Vietnam, who had been accused of massive mismanagement, fled to Germany before being arrested. In July 2017, the Vietnamese secret service kidnapped him in broad daylight in Berlin and took him to Hanoi. This extraordinary measure, which put a considerable strain on German-Vietnamese relations, must be seen not only in connection with the fight against corruption, but also as a sign of internal party disputes.

In a case against former managers of OceanBank, the former director general Nguyen Xuan Son was sentenced to death in Hanoi in September 2017 for massive embezzlement of state funds; other defendants received long prison terms.

In October 2017, Nguyen Xuan Anh lost his position as party leader of Da Nang and his seat on the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam. He was accused of corruption and "serious violations" of the party statutes.

In a further stage of the anti-corruption campaign by party leader Nguyen Phu Trong, Dinh La Thang, who had previously lost his post in the Politburo and as party leader of Ho Chi Minh City, and his younger brother were arrested in December 2017.

In one of the largest anti-corruption trials in recent years, Dinh La Thang, arrested in 2017, was sentenced to 13 years in prison in January 2018. 21 other defendants also received long prison terms.

In the spring of 2018, a number of high-ranking officials, some of whom were retired, from the Da Nang City Council and the Ministry of Public Security were arrested or placed under house arrest on suspicion of involvement in dubious real estate transactions.

In June 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City, a former high-ranking bank clerk received a 30-year prison sentence for massive embezzlement of funds.

The anti-corruption campaign continued in the further course of 2018: In November a former labor minister was arrested on charges of mismanagement of state funds.

The anti-corruption campaign by party leader Nguyen Phu Trong is now directed not only against supporters of the networks of the former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, but also generally against corrupt cadres and, above all, managers of banks and state-owned companies such as the oil company PetroVietnam. The party leadership is increasingly appealing to the "morals" of party members and admonishing them not to alienate themselves from the principles of Marxism-Leninism through "self-development".

In December 2019, a high-profile trial of two former ministers and members of the party's Central Committee ended with long prison terms: Nguyen Bac Son received life sentence, Truong Minh Tuan has been imprisoned for 14 years. Both had accepted immense bribes from Pham Nhat Vu, the brother of Pham Nhat Vuong, the richest man in Vietnam. The prosecution had requested the death penalty for Nguyen Bac Son. It is difficult to determine whether the defendant's family repaid $ 3 million in bribes.

There are clear signs that the fight against corruption will continue into 2020. In January, for example, the party leader in Hanoi, Hoang Trung Hai, received an internal party "reprimand" for the mismanagement of funds; a short time later he then lost his post.

Le Thanh Hai, the former party leader and chairman of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, has also been more and more targeted by the Vietnamese anti-corruption authorities since 2019. His terms of office coincided with those of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. He is now accused of having ruled the largest city in Vietnam like a "feudal lord" and embezzling funds on a large scale.

The fight against corruption, e.g. in administration, results in different results from region to region. In comparison, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City performed very poorly in the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index 2018 (PAPI 2018).