Improving corruption complaints mechanisms in Lao PDR

UNODC supports ASEAN countries to develop effective corruption complaints mechanisms 

Posted on 11 January 2019.

 A students shares his view on prevention of corruption at the celebration of the Anti-Corruption Day in Lao PDR


Vientiane, 13-14 December 2018. As articulated in the 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (NSEDP), Lao PDR aims to improve the rule of law and public administrations to make them more effective, transparent and just. With this, the NSEDP envisions to improve the private investment climate to attract foreign direct investment and promote inclusive economic growth.

Corruption Complaints Mechanisms have been identified and recognized as an effective way to improve public service delivery and the ease-of-doing businesses. Giving citizens and businesses the opportunity of filing complaints on public service delivery, with an effective follow-up, will improve the investment climate and thereby contribute to economic growth

In Lao PDR, corruption complaints have significantly increased since hotlines and complaint boxes have been introduced. In total, Lao institutions received more than 3000 complaints between 2017 and 2018, mostly related to land rights issues and conflicts and dissatisfaction with the proceedings and decisions of courts. The SIAA also received approximately 200 complaints regarding the suspicion of misconduct of public officials.

Hotlines and complaints boxes in the country have been introduced at the national anti-corruption agency, the State Inspection and Anti- Corruption Authority (SIAA), the Ministry of Public Finances, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Prime Minister's Office. The Anti-Corruption Committee of the National Parliament also receives complaints through their hotline, as a letter, or in person when the Parliament is in session.

In the light of the large volume of complaints received, the institutions in Lao PDR face challenges in addressing them effectively, coordinating to refer the complaint to the competent authority, and, most importantly, being able to identify indicators and red flags of corruption in the complaints received.

In an effort to address these issues, UNODC conducted a two-day national workshop with the institutions that have complaint mechanisms in place, in cooperation with the SIAA. Coordination challenges as well as how to assess complaints for their merit and corruption indicators were discussed. On the second day, representatives from the civil society and the private sector discussed challenges faced and best practices in terms of accessible and user-friendly interfaces for complaints mechanism. UNODC and SIAA will work together in the coming year to address the challenges identified in the consultation.