Key Changes to Vietnam's Draft Anti-Corruption Law
The first Draft Anti-Corruption Law (Draft Law) has recently become available for public comments. While the illegality of corrupt acts remains unchanged, several adjustments of note have been made. We set out below the considerable changes introduced in the Draft Law:
1. Anti-Corruption Law extends to the management of enterprises
In addition to people holding influential positions in the public sector, the Draft Law extends its scope of application to leading and managerial persons in private enterprises. This is consistent with the New Penal Code which extends the sanctions for bribery to the private sector.
2. Compliance responsibility of enterprises
This is a new chapter in the Draft Law, which emphasizes enterprises’ anti-corruption compliance responsibility. Accordingly, the enterprises shall be held responsible for building a corruption-free business culture. For example, enterprises are expected to issue a Code of Conduct and/or internal control mechanisms to prevent, detect and handle corruption, as well as control the assets/income of leading, managerial individuals within the enterprises.
3. Giving and receiving gifts
Decision No. 64/2007/QD-TTg, dated 10 May 2007, guides the giving and receiving of gifts pertaining to state officials and public servants. The Decision only allows state officials and public servants to accept gifts under certain limited circumstances. Notably, state officials and public servants may receive gifts from individuals or entities if the recipient in question is ill, recovering from an accident, in mourning or celebrating a marriage, or if the gift is in connection with traditional festivals or the lunar new year. In these situations, the gift value must be less than VND500,000 and unrelated to the public duties of the gift recipient.
However, under the Draft Law, state officials and public servants may receive gifts as souvenirs with a value of up to VND2 million. If the value of the gift exceeds VND2 million, the recipients shall submit the gift to their agency or unit.
As such, the Draft Law seems to be more lenient towards state officials and public servants receiving gifts in comparison with the current regulations.
Otherwise, the Draft Law strictly and specifically regulates the authorities’ management and supervision of officials’ and public servants’ income/assets so as to prevent corruption. Importantly, under the Draft Law, the authorities inspecting officials’ and public servants’ income/assets have the right to initiate a lawsuit to a competent People’s court to verify the ownership rights of discrepant assets/incomes which cannot be reasonably explained by the officials or public servants.