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Thursday, September 20, 2018, 07:01 (GMT+7)
Strengthening power control and fighting bribery for job titles in personnel work (continued)

II. Bribery for job titles and its attendant consequences

The act of bribing for job titles has been common in society. President Ho Chi Minh had identified this negative practice since Vietnam gained independence. He said “Some comrades have been habitually implicated in “nepotism” without regard to their next of kin’s job performance. As long as they hold a position, the collectives will be responsible for their wrongdoings”. Manifestations of degenerate political ideology, morality, and lifestyle among a portion of cadres and party members have been identified by our Party at the national Party Congresses, particularly ever since our country initiated the cause of national renewal and developed a socialist-oriented market economy. According to Resolution of the 6th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (8th tenure), the Politburo identified 5 types of bribery, namely bribery for job titles, powers, self-seeking interests, positions, and sentence commutation or acquittal. Most recently, at the 7th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (12th tenure), when it came to personnel and personnel work, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong clearly confirmed that the bribery for job titles, powers, and other negative practices even involving high-ranking bigwigs have been slowly precluded. This statement reflects the pressing realities of bribing for job titles through complex disguised schemes; however, the whole society has still felt the ever-growing “outbreak” of this “epidemic”.

The deplorable act of bribing for job titles goes against society’s moral standards and the Party’s organizational principles. Yet, it has publicly and secretly penetrated into society and dominated many kinds of relationships at all levels. On the minus side, it eclipses moral values and legal regulations and somehow becomes “a necessary evil” in personnel work in some places. In addition, it not merely circulates in public opinion but arises out of specific deeds and people.

Who bribes for job titles? Technically, they are unqualified for job titles in terms of capability, credibility and hands-on experience. In addition, due to “an upward trend” in lobbying for job titles, even those who are qualified for job titles still lobby for them; otherwise, they will be eliminated from “the race”. Why do they bribe for job titles? To achieve career prospects and advancement with higher titles and perquisites; and to gain material interests and political powers for “retirement security”, etc. How do they bribe for job titles? By using money and capital assets such as housing, lands, or luxury items, etc; by means of connections and acquaintances; by using other interests in the form of “mutual benefits”; and even by getting the upper hand over “opponents”. Who do they bribe? They mainly target heads of offices, units, and localities, or those who can intervene in personnel work. In some cases, they even bribe the entire organization when they are in the same interest groups.

The bribery for job titles can be judged from different angles. Yet, at present, this act is regarded as a profit channel by some. Intrinsically, job titles and power themselves do not create any money. That is the power that people, the Party and the State give to cadres and does not belong to any individual or organization. However, those who bribe for job titles consider them as an investment channel. They turn job titles and power into a tool to generate money and enormous profits. They invest their money in “bidding for” job titles for which they wish. Once holding those job titles, they find every way to appropriate public properties; use State budget and resources to line their pockets; and solicit funds from their subordinates, people and enterprises, etc. They disregard the Party’s regulations and the laws to misuse their power for personal gains.

The worst thing is that the bribery for job titles has become an endless closed circle. When successfully lobbying for job titles, especially key positions, they adopt a “mercantile” approach to their work management. They take advantage of their power in personnel work to initiate incapable cadres into their organizations. At this rate, the bribery for job titles has continued its upward spiral.

Why does the bribery for job titles prevail? There are many reasons for this, chief of which are inadequacies in power control over personnel work and sluggish reforms in the operation of the political system. According to V.I. Lenin, there is no leadership without power inspection and control. Nevertheless, the bribery for job titles is a contributing factor to lax power control in personnel work. In addition, it stems from the impacts of negative side of market economy as well as degenerate morality and individualism amongst some cadres and party members, even in personnel agencies. President Ho Chi Minh emphasized individualism is a virulent virus, hence it causes dangerous diseases. In addition, inadequate combativeness of some party committees and organizations and a contingent of cadres and party members leads to the realities of bribing for job increasingly becoming blatant and a breeding ground for those who get involved in negative practices in personnel work.

Given those afore-mentioned manifestations, the bribery for job titles has become the Party’s eyesore, causing serious consequences and impeding national socio-economic development. Those who bribe for job titles are not capable and virtuous; however, the state and people’s properties are concentrated in their hands. As a result, those properties will not be exploited effectively and even appropriated in a wide variety of ways. Their self-seeking will derail the operational targets and directions of agencies, units, and enterprises. They just deplete all budget and resources during their tenure with scant attention devoted to long-term development strategies. The factional appointment of their juniors and an attitude of deliberate indifference to talented people – “the country’s most precious resource” have contributed to low productivity and hindered national socio-economic development.

The bribery for job titles is also the root cause of degraded social morality; oppressed fine cultural customs and a distorted system of values of new socialist human beings. Parallel with those, values of material interests and connections have been created in the form of money.

The “bribery” is a direct cause of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation”. On a small scale, once successfully bribing for job titles, a cadre without capability, virtues and vision is appointed. As a consequence, operational principles of and procedures for personnel work is in disorder; democracy is not promoted; flatterers are given favourable conditions for their career advancement, and honest capable people are repressed, etc. Those impact greatly on cadres and party members’ sentiment and confidence. They start to show a feeling of lethargy and attendant disaffection and confidence losses in their organizations, the Party and regime, which becomes a breeding ground for manifestations of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation”. The realities have shown that disaffected cadres have detached themselves from political ideal and goals, and consequently they have been used to oppose our Party, State and regime by hostile forces.

On a grand scale, eroded confidence in the Party is the worst consequence of the bribery for job titles, which gives rise to increasingly complex social relations, the Party and State’s distorted guidelines and policies, and cadres and party members’ degenerate dignity. Some incapable dishonest cadres who get the fast-track route to promotion by means of powerful financial potential and connections usually show arrogance; belittle their organizations; disregard the regulations; and disrespect their colleagues, etc. The illustrations of this are as follows even though some localities are poor and underdeveloped, some officials still possess luxury villas and grow rich quickly; hundreds of billions of tax money paid by people get lost and appropriated, etc. Those illustrations reflect the status quo of “one bad apple spoils the barrel” and “distort” the Party’s image of cadres in the eyes of the people, leading to people’s weakened confidence in the Party leadership and the State management.

Some violation cases involving specific people include Trinh Xuan Thanh’s fast-track promotion and his violations causing billion-VND losses in state budget; Mr. Nguyen Xuan Anh’s serious violations, former head of Da Nang municipal Party Committee; Ms Tran Vu Quynh Anh’s fast-track promotion in Thanh Hoa; and Director of Vietnamese Aviation Corporation appointed nearly 100 leaders in one day before his retirement, to name but just a few. Those violations brought to light are a painful truth about the epidemic of bribing for job titles. It is also a challenging wakeup call ever for the whole Party, people and military on the way to realizing the goal of “prosperous people and a strong democratic equitable and civilized nation”.

The bribery for job titles not only creates degeneracy among a contingent of cadres but also threatens the survival of our Party and regime. Yet, the prevention of this bad practice is a challenging complex issue since it involves various aspects of the Party and State’s work as well as socioeconomic and human factors. Therefore, it requires synchronous solutions and political determination of the whole Party, people and political system to preclude this epidemic (to be continued).

Hong Lam – Hoang Truong – Pham Tuan

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