Last November Vietnam approved a new anticorruption law. Initial reports in the English language press recounted the measures cracking down on public officials: the closing of loopholes in the conflict of interest rules, the increased information officials must provide about their personal finances, stiffer penalties for engaging in corruption, and so forth. The recent publication of an English translation of the law reveals these early reports failed to mention a critical provision. As of July 1, all firms doing business in Vietnam, whether domestic or foreign, must:
- determine if any employee or officer has engaged in corruption and if so promptly report him or her to the competent authority;
- train employees on the anti-corruption laws; and
- implement a code of business conduct that must include a rule barring conflicts of interest.
By my count (nations with anticorruption compliance laws january 2019), Vietnam is now the 25th nation to require some or all of the companies that do business in its territory to have some type of anticorruption compliance program. Like every other anticorruption policy, requiring the private sector to join the fight against corruption is not a panacea. But it surely is a part of the solution.
What are the rest of the world’s nations waiting for? Do they think they can win the fight on their own? Don’t they think the private sector has something to do with corruption? Why aren’t they enlisting it in struggle?