The Road Administration Department 3 under the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam is completing the procedures for the forced dismantling of five gate works in Kon Tum city worth VND8 billion ($348,000). The reason is said that these welcome gates are approved by the Kon Tum City People’s Committee but they have not been approved by the Directorate of Roads for traffic safety reasons.
At the press conference on January 14, 2022, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Man, Chairman of the City People’s Committee. Kon Tum explained that these works were started for the purpose of becoming a grade II city. Applying for a permit to build the welcome gate is very complicated, while the province requires the completion of the welcome gate before 2021, so the city can keep up with the schedule.
According to public opinion, this is another form of corruption because of the local leadership.
Corruption has not only not decreased but also taken place in a more sophisticated way than before, especially in the construction sector. More sophisticated is because people have seen the gaps in the mechanism, in the law for the construction field, said construction engineer Anh Quang.
Anh Quang, a construction engineer in the Central region, gives his views on corruption in the construction sector:
“Corruption has not only not decreased but also taken place in a more sophisticated way than before, especially in the construction sector. More sophisticated is because people have seen the gaps in the mechanism, in the law for the construction sector. In the construction law, people have also adjusted and supplemented a number of laws to minimize corruption in construction. However, when people introduce more and more mechanisms, policies, and articles in the construction law and a number of related decrees, such as the Regulations on construction investment management or construction planning… Corruption has a way of dealing with it.”
According to Mr. Quang, there are many types of gates of different sizes, from the provincial, district, and commune levels. Every locality builds a welcome gate. It has no meaning but just thinking about sand, thinking about small farmers, so it is a huge waste. Especially a waste of budget because no one spends their own money to build the gate. He further explained about two types of corruption in the construction sector:
“Gateway and monument are the projects that are born and cause the most losses in the field of capital construction investment. In this field, the loss in investment costs is at least 20% to 30%, from which the cost increases. It is a direct loss. The indirect loss is from the policy. Where policymakers, specifically the Ministry of Construction, have backyards, if they want to benefit, they have to come up with policies that are beneficial for the backyard, which is beneficial for them personally.”
The story of building a welcome gate is not new in Vietnam, but since 2010, Binh Duong province’s government has organized the inauguration of a gate worth VND40 billion. In 2012, the Binh Duong province government dismantled a part of the work in the welcome gate to replace it with a ball, worth VND1 billion. In Hai Phong city, after spending VND 24 billion to build an art welcome gate in 2015, it had to be dismantled in 2017 due to severe damage.
Just last year, the six billion gates in Kim Son district, Ninh Binh province also fell into a situation where it could be dismantled at any time because the gate was built on the main trade route of the coastal delta provinces so lack of sustainability.
Speaking of corruption, Lawyer H.L. in Hanoi said that it is observed that corruption in Vietnam is increasingly sophisticated and involves the top leadership. That was never discovered. He said:
“Speaking of corruption in Vietnam, the person who launched the burning campaign, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, was involved in corruption in the Viet A case, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This is unprecedented in the history of anti-corruption in Vietnam and is considered a state manipulation. This is also evidence that corruption in Vietnam is a whole system because when Mr. Trong was then the state president, he signed the third-class Labor Medal for Viet A, that is, there were equal agencies. The bottom row has been appraised. First proposed by Ho Chi Minh City and then through the Emulation – Commendation Board; through the Government; through the Ministry of Internal Affairs and then to the Office of the President to sign.
The Viet A case is a typical policy corruption case. Without the “invisible hand” controlling it, it would be impossible for Viet A’s products to be consumed simultaneously in 62 provinces and cities across the country. There’s no salesman as good as the Government at this.”
At the end of 2021, the Investigation Police Agency of the Ministry of Public Security probed a criminal case of violating bidding regulations, causing serious consequences at Viet A Technology Joint Stock Company. In March 2021, Viet A Company was awarded the 3rd Class Labor Medal signed by the then State President, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong. The leader of the Central Emulation and Commendation Committee told the press that the awarding ceremony for Viet A Company was based on the proposal of the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City.
Some experts say that corruption is ubiquitous and cannot be prevented, even though General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong launched a “burning furnace” campaign in 2016 when Trong was re-elected as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam in its 12th National Congress.
A year later, when chairing the 12th session of the Central Steering Committee on Anti-corruption, Mr. Trong repeated: “Once the oven is hot, the fresh firewood that comes in here must also burn. Firewood is dry, firewood has just burned first, then the whole furnace heats up, all agencies are involved, no one is standing outside. And can’t stay out. Individuals who want to do it can’t do it, that’s a success.”
Lawyer HL. comments to RFA:
“It is impossible to fight corruption without an independent judiciary. Currently, both the chief justice and the chief procurator of the Supreme People’s Procuracy are party members, so it is clear that the Party is above the law. If the Party allows the case to be tried, it will be handled, if not, it’s fine. This mechanism cannot fight corruption. That is clear. When the Party program is placed above the Constitution, anti-corruption only aims to protect the interests of the Party, not the interests of the people.”
At a talk with voters in Tay Ho and Hoan Kiem districts on September 28, 2013, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong declared: “The Constitution is the most important legal document after the Party’s Platform. “.
Meanwhile, Article 119, Clause 1 of the 2013 Constitution stipulates: “The Constitution is the basic law of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, having the highest legal force. All other legal documents must be consistent with the Constitution. Any violations of the Constitution will be handled.”
Some people believe that, with the ruling Party with such awareness, Vietnam will forever be a “lawless” country.