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UNODC and Viet Nam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development join forces to prevent corruption and fraud in procurement

Hanoi (Viet Nam), 16 July 2020 - Viet Nam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have joined forces through a series of wide-ranging initiatives to prevent corruption and fraud in procurement. Together, they developed “Guide on Inspecting for Procurement Corruption and Fraud in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development”.

In Hanoi, on 16 July 2020, MARD and UNODC co-launched this Handbook with participation of over 70 participants who are MARD inspectors at central and local levels, representatives from Government Inspectorate and relevant agencies and development partners.

Public procurement has a very important role to play in the development of each country. However, it is typically one of the most vulnerable areas for corruption. UNODC estimated that corruption and fraud may amount to 10 – 25 per cent of procurement budgets (UNODC, 2014). According to OECD, up to US$2 trillion of procurement costs could be lost to corruption.

Although there is strong Government’s commitment to ongoing legal reform to establish the strongest possible legal and regulatory frameworks, corruption and fraud in public procurement still occur at different levels. This has caused frustration in among the public.

The guide is intended to be educational by explaining the various components of corruption and fraud in procurement, and instructional on how MARD Inspectors’ can fulfill their responsibilities to detect and prevent corruption and fraud within MARD procurement.

“This handbook is a valuable tool for MARD inspectors, equipping us with more legal knowledge and particularly skills to detect red flags of fraud and corruption, and to deal with wrongdoings in the organization and implementation of procurement activities in agriculture and rural development thus enhancing the effectiveness of our work”, said Deputy Inspection General, MARD, Mr. Dao Van Thanh.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Francesco Checchi, Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor, UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific stated that the above mentioned activities and the publication represent UNODC’s and MARD’s efforts to help responsible officers to more effectively prevent and detect corruption and fraud within MARD. It is hoped that this handbook is utilized as much as possible by MARD inspectors in the performance of their authorized responsibilities which are indispensable for achieving Vietnam’s rural and agricultural development objectives and meeting the needs of over 65% of the Vietnamese population”.

Many experts who contributed their expertise to the development of this handbook include those from MARD, UNODC, Procurement Integrity Consulting Services, Government Inspectorate and Ministry of Public Security.