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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Crackdown on Corruption: Lao Officials Push for Severe Penalties

This Week

The government has lost significant sums of money to corruption, with the State Inspection Authority identifying development and investment projects, especially roads and bridges, as primary sources of graft.

National Assembly (NA) members highlighted the issue during the 7th ongoing Ordinary Session of the NA on 18 June, noting that corruption has also discouraged potential foreign investments needed for infrastructure development.

NA members also stated that corruption is widespread among state employees, police, tax collectors, and some mining companies, often involving collusion with high-ranking officials. They emphasized that tackling these issues is crucial for restoring public trust and promoting transparent and accountable governance in Laos.

To address the issue, the NA members have urged the relevant ministries to join efforts to improve the amended Law on Anti-Corruption, saying that corruption takes diverse forms. They proposed to add specific penalties for corruption cases and stricter measures against offenders.

The Law on Anti-Corruption, originally enacted in 2005 and revised in 2012, is currently undergoing a second revision. 

Meanwhile, NA members stressed that having strict laws is not enough and emphasized the need for robust enforcement mechanisms. They expressed frustration over the lack of significant measures taken against corrupt officials.

In recent years, several officials allegedly involved in corruption have been transferred or dismissed. However, many believe stricter actions are needed, including publicly naming and shaming offenders, to prevent future misconduct, Lao state media reported.

According to NA members, corruption is a serious threat to the country’s development goals, especially poverty reduction. To address the issue further, effective enforcement of the law is needed to enhance public service delivery, promote good governance, and uphold the rule of law.

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