HANOI, May 29, 2009 (Reuters) – Vietnam will soon ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, one of the country’s top graft fighters said on Friday, a milestone in tackling an endemic problem that threatens investment and aid.
The document, which Vietnam signed in December 2003, is binding and according to Ran Liao, senior programme coordinator for East and Southeast Asia with Transparency International, would make it criminal for Vietnamese officials to accept bribes from foreign companies or pay bribes overseas.
“The real challenge, or maybe one should say the real problem, is implementation,” Swedish Ambassador Rolf Bergman said.
Corruption is rife in Vietnam, from contractors skimming funds off large-scale infrastructure projects to traffic cops extracting money from motorists. The country ranked 121 out of 160 included in Transparency International’s corruption perception index for 2008.
“The issue of corruption is a serious concern for the Asian Development Bank as well as for the government, because if there are problems we will have difficulty to continue assisting Vietnam’s development process,” Ayumi Konishi, the ADB’s Vietnam representative, said.
“For us, it’s really the issue of our raison d’etre, so to speak.”
United Nationsl Convention Against Corruption, Oct 31, 2003