Lao gov't authorities calls for tougher action to stamp out corruption

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Government bodies and authorities need to do more to weed out and prevent corruption by using methods put in place by the Party and state.

This was the main message of a meeting held on Thursday to explain the content of a law on anti-corruption and anti-graft strategies from now until 2020.

The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Planning and Investment to inform its officials about various issues related to declaring their assets and income. It was attended by the Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Khamlien Pholsena, and other ministry officials.

The Law on Anti-Corruption, which was amended and re-promulgated in December 2012, is the primary reference for every organisation in Laos for preventing and combating corruption. Both provincial bureaucrats and the highest levels of government are allegedly involved in corruption, according to officials in charge.

Party committees and leading officials were advised to create awareness among people about the importance of complying with the law and the need to avoid corrupt practices, as a first step towards preventing systemic corruption.

Addressing the meeting, Dr Khamlien instructed officials to learn about the methods used to declare assets and income in relation to the law on anti-corruption. He described corruption as a corrosive practice that is causing huge losses to the public purse and an obstacle to social and economic development.

People across the country have been attempting to combat corruption through various measures that have been agreed to by the global community.

The ministry’s officials were asked to share their knowledge and skills in carrying out checks and fighting corruption.

The Party and state have always considered the campaign against corruption to be of great importance.

Since 1982, the government has provided directions for dealing with underhand activities in state administrative bodies and among public officials, and for preventing graft.

The Party Central Committee has issued resolutions and regulations in relation to anti-corruption measures.

The National Assembly adopted the first Law on Anti-Corruption in 2005, and it was subsequently promulgated by the President.

From 2012-2014, Laos lost more than 1 trillion kip (US$123 million) to corruption, according to a report presented to the National Assembly last year.

In addition, Laos has issued bonds worth several hundred billion kip to firms that failed to carry out road construction in Oudomxay province, according to the Ministry of Finance, adding to recent losses.

The current government is trying to strengthen anti-corruption measures through the development and amendment of legislation and by improving organisational mechanisms.

While enforcing the Law on Anti-Corruption, line ministries conducted an in-depth study of the law and proposed that the government issue legislation such as the Anti-Corruption Strategic Plan until 2020.

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