President's provinces tour: Anti-corruption campaign dominates agenda
President Bounnhang Vorachit has demanded provinces intensify their fight against corruption during his tour, with the anti-corruption campaign appearing to dominate his working trip's agenda.
President Bounnhang, who is also Secretary General of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, began his working trip to central Khammuan province on Tuesday and central Savannakhet province on Wednesday.
At the talks with Savannakhet provincial authorities, the president told the leadership to intensify their efforts to prevent and address bureaucracy and corruption enabling society to benefit from justice and transparency thereby contributing to the people's wellbeing.
In Khammuan, the president told the provincial leadership to attach great importance to fighting corruption.
The guidance also included boosting socio-economic development, alleviating poverty and maintaining social order and security which were other agendas on the president's trip.
The anti-corruption campaign appeared to dominate the president's working trip as a number of corruption cases were reported to have cost the nation multibillions of kip.
The State Inspection Authority (SIA) reported recently that over the past year, some officials from the agriculture sector in Saravan province alone were involved in document forgery, defrauding the state of 11.3 billion kip and 8.3 million baht.
Meanwhile, some officials from the province's Department of Labour and Social Welfare embezzled more than 200 million kip.
Around 5.8 billion kip was embezzled by taxation and customs officials in Savannakhet province, while officials at the Ministry of Finance's Taxation Department were found to have embezzled 6.9 billion kip last year. At the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, it was found that about 20 billion kip had been misappropriated.
The corrupted officials had engaged in misconduct such as bribery, abuse of power, sub-standard or fraudulent construction methods and document forgery, and the defrauding of state and cooperative assets, according to the SIA. Some 71 officials suspected of corrupt conduct last year were investigated and prosecuted.
Both President Bounnhang and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith announced in April last year, upon taking office following their elections by the National Assembly, that Laos under their leadership would fight corruption.
In a recent move, the Party Central Committee on January 13 issued Resolution No. 22 on combating autocracy and corruption. The resolution called for every Party and government organisation, the Lao Front for National Construction and other mass organisations, the mass media and general public to participate actively in combating autocracy and join the fight against corruption.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update January 27, 2017)