Former Communist Party chief Le Kha Phieu has criticised what he terms complacency over corruption in an unusually strong attack on the country’s current leaders. A long-running anti-graft campaign is ineffective, Phieu told the widely circulated daily Tuoi Tre in an interview.
“This struggle has been deemed a ‘priority task’ for many years but it is not effective,” said Phieu, who headed the party from 1997 till 2001. “What is more serious is that corruption is not an isolated case but permeates the whole network from top to bottom and bottom to top,” he said.
The anti-graft campaign is a constant theme of official declarations, as leaders are said to be worried the problem is hurting the party’s image.
Without naming anyone, Phieu said some recent high-profile corruption trials were hardly enough to show the authorities meant business.
In June last year, the former ?godfather? of HCM City, the southern economic capital, was executed after a major and lengthy trial. Three top-ranking party leaders, including two Central Committee members, were jailed as part of that case.
“We can’t point to some already concluded corruption cases, even at high levels, and say graft has really been fought back,” said Phieu, who as party chief had occupied the most powerful post. “The fight is not far-reaching.”
His remarks come a year before the 10th congress of the communist party, the expected scene of jockeying for posts in the state and party leadership.
Phieu was widely acknowledged to have lost his job after a strong anti-graft drive and for having set up close surveillance of politburo members.
“There are some corruption cases that I and prime minister Vo Van Kiet (who had been in office from 1991 to 1997) know about but are unable to bust,” Phieu said in May 25′s interview, alleging some unnamed people enjoyed “protection” from inside and outside the country.
Phieu proposed the corruption issue be discussed in the party central committee.
The struggle against corruption must be won, he stressed. “If not it will grow bigger and bigger and weaken our political system.”