While corruption in Laos remains problematic, the Deputy Prime Minister has made it his mission to stamp it out, and raise public awareness of the issue.
Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Party and Government Inspection Authority and Anti-Corruption Organization, Dr Bounthong Chitmany, says the issue must be raised among the public, and the government must take note.
“We must raise public awareness of the dangers of corruption, starting at a young age,” announced Dr Bounthong during his address at the annual inspection meeting yesterday.
He said that corruption in Laos erodes the influence and leadership of the Party, and that he is working hard with the people’s interest at heart.
Last year, inspections were undertaken on 786 targets throughout fifteen ministries and government agencies in both Vientiane Capital and the provinces. Anti-corruption officials found that over 98 billion kip, 15 million baht, and US$ 2 million had been syphoned away through corruption.
Deputy Prime Minister Bounthong stated that corruption involved individual decisions made by leaders at various levels, and was rarely due to group decisions or collusion.
He added that abuse of power by authorities would be the focus of future inspections.
One of the major issues raised at the meeting was the direct involvement of Party members and government officials in illegal activities in the timber and drug trafficking trades.
Dr Bounthong emphasized the importance of addressing public complaints, and also complaints and suggestions made by Party members and civil servants regarding corruption in Laos. He said that anonymous letters and citizen reports should be given greater credence, and followed up.
The Party and government have noted the overwhelming public support of actions taken toward stamping out corruption, with particular support for Prime Mnister Thongoun Sisoulith and his decree on the timber trade, as well as the plan to hand over luxury vehicles in use by government officials.
The deputy prime minister mentioned that an official from the Communist Party of China had praised decisions taken by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, and said he was following the example of China’s hard stance against corruption.