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Cablegate: Gvn's Anti-Corruption Czar Says Hanoi Wants Increased

VZCZCXRO3516
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #0296/01 0730746
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130746Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7403
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4439
RUEHZS/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000296

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ECON PGOV KCOR KPAO SOCI PREL VM

SUBJECT: GVN'S ANTI-CORRUPTION CZAR SAYS HANOI WANTS INCREASED
COOPERATION WITH USG

Ref: 07 HANOI 702

HANOI 00000296 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: On March 6, the Ambassador met the head of
Vietnam's Government Inspectorate (GI) Tran Van Truyen, a key player
in the Government of Vietnam's (GVN) fight against corruption and an
ally of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Truyen said he welcomed
cooperation with the USG, and added that functional GI departments
would work with the Embassy in devising specific anti-corruption
programs and that he would report to PM Dung the results of his
meeting with the Ambassador. Hanoi also wants to do more with the
USG on legal reform through USAID's Support for Trade Acceleration
(STAR) program. The GVN wants to reform its laws so that
transparency and accountability are enshrined, and needs help
reforming its cumbersome administrative apparatus. He proposed that
the GVN and USG sign a specific cooperative agreement. Post will
follow up with Truyen's subordinates on this initiative. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) On March 6, the Ambassador met Tran Van Truyen, the head of
the Government Inspectorate (GI), to discuss the GVN's
anti-corruption efforts and how the USG might help Hanoi fight
malfeasance. Truyen said the GVN remains resolute in carrying out
its anti-corruption fight. As evidence, he cited the
anti-corruption decrees the GVN has passed and anti-corruption
bodies the GVN has created over the past two years. Corruption
hurts everyone, constrains Vietnam's economic development and places
strains on the country's legal system, he said. Decrees on the
media, asset declaration and rotation of public officials in
graft-prone sectors show that the GVN views prevention as one of its
main tasks, he added.

3. (SBU) The GVN is focused on the tasks of developing the economy,
accelerating administrative reform and fighting corruption, Truyen
continued. The central government has sought to raise awareness
within the GVN and among the Vietnamese people about the negative
impact corruption has on the country's socioeconomic development.
People are seizing the opportunity to report on alleged corruption,
although the GI found last year that only about 50 percent of the
cases reported to it had any merit. To supplement the central
government's action plans for fighting corruption, Truyen said it
has also encouraged local governments to come up with their own
plans. The National Assembly (NA) recently voted to allow local
governments to set up their own anti-corruption bodies, Truyen
noted.

4. (SBU) According to a 2007 Asset Declaration Decree, GVN and Party
officials above a certain rank had to declare their assets by last
November (Ref A). Truyen said that the GI is now in the process of
analyzing "who has been truthful in their declarations." If the GI
discovers hidden assets, it will make this publicly known and will
forward its findings to the courts, he asserted.

Challenges Remain...But the USG Can Help
----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Truyen said that, despite GVN success in preventing and
fighting corruption, it still faces many hurdles. Corruption in the
health and education fields, for example, has become problematic
over the last few years. Hanoi needs to upgrade its legal system so
that transparency and accountability are enshrined, Truyen declared.
The GVN also must do more to reform its large and cumbersome
administrative apparatus. The government is trying to devolve
social security responsibilities to "societal organizations." It is
also looking at reforming salary structures so that law enforcement
officers receive higher salaries, because their current monthly
income is not sufficient for "normal living."

6. (SBU) The Ambassador agreed that economic development,
administrative reform and anti-corruption work are inter-related.
The USG looks forward to working with the GVN as it undertakes its
ambitious administrative reform effort, he said. The Ambassador
pointed out that streamlining decision-making processes and
eliminating layers of bureaucracy are effective ways of eliminating
corruption.

7. (SBU) Truyen responded that the GVN is determined to integrate
its economy with those of the rest of the world, but that it will
chart its own path in this regard to reflect its own unique history.
He said that all GVN economic development plans are complemented by
legal reform strategies. The National Assembly has a huge task in
formulating new laws and the GVN highly values the support it has
received from international partners in the legislative reform
area.

8. (SBU) The GVN is close to ratifying the UN Covenant on
Anti-Corruption, Truyen said, and anti-corruption has figured
prominently in Vietnam's international relations. The subject is
discussed during APEC and Hanoi has signed Memoranda of
Understanding (MOU) on anti-corruption with several ASEAN countries.

HANOI 00000296 002.2 OF 002


In addition, Hanoi values the technical assistance it receives from
Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Canada to help the GVN
strengthen capacity in detecting and prosecuting corruption. In
this context, the GVN also appreciates USG support through the
Support for Trade Acceleration (STAR) Program and wants to advance
cooperation with the USG on legal reform through the STAR program.


9. (SBU) Truyen said he would report to PM Dung the results of his
meeting with the Ambassador and would request that functional GI
departments work with the Embassy in devising specific
anti-corruption programs. He proposed that the GVN and USG sign a
specific cooperative agreement.

Comment: Holding Truyen to His Word
-----------------------------------

10. (SBU) Truyen is a member of the 181-member Central Committee and
sits on the GVN's Anti-Corruption Steering Committee, which meets
monthly and is headed by Prime Minister Dung. He is a key player in
the GVN fight against corruption and is known to be close to PM
Dung. All in Vietnam agree that the corruption fight will be years
long, and even Vietnamese officials concede that tough talk has
rarely been matched with tough action to date. Hopes lie in
incremental, but cumulatively significant, changes in the structure
and nature of governance. The GVN's desire to devolve social
insurance responsibilities to societal organizations presents the
USG an opportunity to strengthen Vietnam's civil society. We also
can do more in the legislative reform area. Post will follow up
with Truyen's subordinates to test his offer to collaborate more
closely with the USG.

MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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