Corruption report of Hanoi chairman reflects cover-up situation in public agencies

Corruption report of Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee Chu Ngoc Anh speaking at the meeting on December 2, 2020.

Mr. Chu Ngoc Anh, Chairman of the Hanoi City People’s Committee recently released a report on the results of anti-corruption activities in 2020 to serve the 18th session of the Hanoi People’s Council for the 14th term.

Vietnam’s state-controlled newspaper quoted the content of the report, saying that the Hanoi city leader said that the internal self-inspection of the units had not discovered and handled any corruption related cases, however, the inspectors have discovered 5 corruption cases and recommended to transfer the investigation agency.

On social networks, many people re-shared this content with the question of whether there was any inconsistency in the report of Mr. Chu Ngoc Anh or not?

Talking with RFA on the evening of December 4, civil society activist Tran Bang from Saigon said that the content of the Hanoi’s chairman was not contradictory, but was reflecting the truth. He said:

The truth is, no one defames themselves. Does anyone itself check and confess itself to be corrupt or illegal? That is the general mentality, anyone, in the law does not stipulate that he/she commits a crime and has to denounce itself. Then there must be external competition coming in, such as inspectors from superiors or other units leading the inspection, or auditors, or people reporting, i.e. outside the unit or within the unit. But those who contradict interests, not with the same team, can denounce, new mistakes appear, then prosecute or review … “

The same view is that if we look internally, corruption will never be discovered because of covering and concealing each other, but if there is an external inspection unit, it can be discovered, Dr. Nguyen Quang A , a civil society activist in Hanoi added about this:

This is a very significant thing, showing that if social organizations monitor, the media monitors, and people monitor, they would discover more corruption and wrongdoings of state officials. It is really important that the government’s organizations are not subject to the press, civil society organizations, the people – often through the civic organization, but a citizen does not have any power, and it is really important.”

Vietnam’s state-controlled media on November 30 quoted the Hanoi People’s Court stating that there will be a trial on Dec 10-12 about the price hike of COVID-19 test equipment at CDC Hanoi Disease Control Center. Accordingly, 10 people will be put on trial in this case.

In particular, Mr. Nguyen Nhat Cam, former director of Center for Disease Control (CDC) is accused of masterminding in the overpricing of the Realtime PCR system automatically testing COVID-19 in the form of contractor appointment.

On June 20, 2020, the Ministry of Health issued a decision No. 2591 / QD-BYT, issued a registration number for the Vsmart VFS-510 ventilator, by Vinsmart Research and Production Joint Stock Company, under Vingroup develop

According to the indictment, the Supreme People’s Procuracy decided to prosecute Mr. Nguyen Nhat Cam and 9 other defendants for “violating the bidding regulations and causing serious consequences” according to Clause 3, Article 222 of the Criminal Code.

The case is considered to cause particularly serious damage to the state when the import price to Vietnam is only about VND2.3 billion ($100,000), but import, distribution and trading enterprises are around and CDC Hanoi has bought with the price is VND7 billion, 3 times higher than the import price.

Even Chairwoman of the country’s legislative body National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan at the meeting with voters in Cai Rang district, Can Tho on the morning of June 23 also called this a “thick meal” case.

Activist Tran Bang said that the root of corruption is from corruption of power, resulting in a lot of corruption in power, money, property, bidding …

According to Dr. Nguyen Quang A, from a very simple lesson of Hanoi, the fact that the chairman had to confess like that could infer how the whole country should be in the current situation.

Dr. Nguyen Quang A said that the management of corruption depends on the governance of the country. In particular, for good governance, 4 factors are needed, including strict law, no one is allowed to sit above the law, the contingent of civil servants working whole-heartedly and not involved in politics, the state officials are well trained and functioning well, independent press, and independent justice.

With four factors like that, good governance can be done, so that corruption can be reduced, maybe even quite transparent, quite free of corruption. Unfortunately, in Vietnam, the four standards I have just said are either absent or very poor. Then the chants of anti-corruption are just blasphemies.”

Ms. Oanh, a resident of Dong Tam, said that since the public force crashed into Hoanh village, Dong Tam commune on January 9 due to a land dispute, she no longer believed in state officials’ words. She explained:

Uncle Le Dinh Kinh and Dong Tam people participating in this fight against corruption completely trust the party, not dissent or anything. Until January 9, when this happened, my belief was put in response to the call for anti-corruption, to denounce the government’s wrongdoing on land management that we were blamed.”

Comments in the report of the head of Hanoi city also clearly stated that the basic cause of the shortcomings and limitations in preventing corruption is that the state management still reveals many gaps and limited management skills.

In addition, Mr. Chu Ngoc Anh also said that a part of cadres and civil servants took advantage of loopholes in management, mechanisms, policies or abused assigned tasks to violate the regulations, working processes to benefit.

Therefore, activist Tran Bang gave suggestions from the facts just mentioned and from the content in Mr. Chu Ngoc Anh’s report as follows:

From this, it follows that a political party also needs to compete from the outside, that is to have another party check and monitor the ruling party’s activities to reveal good and bad. Without another party, without an opposing force, this party never realizes what is wrong or weak that needs to be replaced. For example, this communist party must have two parties, must compete for one-to-one, and like Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden, then we can do our best for the people and can reduce the negative within that political party.”

According to Tran Bang, if the country has only one political party, there is no way to fight corruption, all activities under the name of anti-corruption will be factional. As a citizen, Mr. Tran Bang made clear that many people said state officials were not working to halt corruption but for fractions’ fighting. (Translated)