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Authorities retrieve 50b kip from corrupt officials

The State Inspection Authority (SIA) has retrieved more than 50 billion kip over the past two years from corrupt officials who had previously embezzled State properties.

A senior official from SIA who asked to remain anonymous told Vientiane Times on Monday that all State budget and properties which have been known to have been embezzled by officials must be recovered.

“We acknowledge that there are enormous challenges and difficulties to get money back as corrupt officials have already spent or hidden some of it but we will try our best to retrieve the lost money for the State,” he said.

SIA has confirmed that a majority of the embezzled money and properties had already been rescued for the government.

After corrupt officials are arrested their money and properties are confiscated or frozen. The impounded property is then sold and the money regained is added back into the national budget.

Over the past five years, it has been estimated that Laos has lost many billions of kip to corruption which must be addressed so that even more money can be funneled into the country's development, like ensuring more children have an opportunity to go to school or supporting any number of poverty reduction projects.

Last year, the Ministry of Finance's Inspection Department revealed findings in a report that found more than 785.8 billion kip (US$96.83 million) had been spent on 60 so-called “ghost” projects – schemes for which money has been budgeted but did not actually exist.

Of the total, 29 such projects were discovered in Luang Namtha province, 26 projects in Oudomxay province, three projects in Xekong province and two others in Attapeu.

SIA told media yesterday that the accomplishment in exposing these 60 ghost projects was largely made through the involvement of citizens who had reported the cases to authorities.

In November last year, the Party Inspection Committee under the Ministry of Public Security revealed the number of police officers who had “acted dishonestly” over the past five years from 2011-2015.

More than 1,000 police officers were found to have violated laws and regulations while 737 of them were dismissed from their duties after being found to have taken bribes or abused their power in some way. It is estimated their actions have resulted in losses of more than 41 billion kip to the public purse.

Last year, SIA carried out investigations and found 71 officials that were suspected of corrupt conduct in some ministries and provinces.

As Laos has seen millions of US dollars embezzled as a result of corruption, the government is determined to work harder in cracking down on that abuse so that even more resources can be spent on the country's development needs.

SIA is currently focusing on examining sectors related to revenue collection and budget expenditure so that Laos can collect revenue based on its plans and expend it more effectively.

 

 

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 19, 2017)


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