The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam issued Directive 26-CT/TW in 2023 on the organization of the Lunar New Year in 2024. Article 3 of Directive 26-CT/TW in 2023 stipulates the following:
3. No visits or New Year's greetings to superiors and leaders at all levels; no delegations from the Central Committee to visit and greet the provincial and municipal Party committees and governments; strictly prohibit the giving and receiving of gifts to leaders at all levels in any form; officials at all levels are only allowed to attend pagoda ceremonies and festivals when assigned; do not participate in superstitious activities; do not use state budget, public vehicles, and properties for festival and entertainment activities contrary to regulations. Strictly implement the regulations on the responsibility to set an example for officials and party members and the things that party members should not do.
As regulations above, the act of giving gifts to leaders is an illegal act. This act may be subject to disciplinary action, or even criminal prosecution depending on the nature and severity of the violation.
Can giving gifts to leaders during the Lunar New Year in 2024 be considered bribery in Vietnam? - Source: Internet
Pursuant to Article 364 of the Criminal Code in 2015 stipulating giving bribes as follows:
1. Any person who directly or through an intermediary gives or promises to give any of the following benefits to an office holder or another person or organization in order to influence him/her to perform or not to perform certain tasks in the interests of or at the request of the bribe giver shall be liable to a fine of from VND 20,000,000 to VND 200,000,000 or face a penalty of up to 03 years' community sentence or 06 - 36 months' imprisonment:
a) Money, property or other tangible benefits assessed at from VND 2,000,000 to under VND 100,000,000;
b) Intangible benefits.
2. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 02 - 07 years' imprisonment:
a) The offence is committed by an organized group;
b) The offence involves deceitful methods;
c) The bribe is state property;
d) The offender abuses his/her position or power to commit the offence;
dd) The offence has been committed more than once;
e) The bribe is money, property or other tangible benefits assessed at from VND 100,000,000 to under VND 500,000,000.
3. If the bribe is money, property or other tangible benefits assessed at from VND 500,000,000 to under VND 1,000,000,000, the offender shall face a penalty of 07 - 12 years' imprisonment.
4. If the bribe is money, property or other tangible benefits assessed at ≥ VND 1,000,000,000, the offender shall face a penalty of 12 - 20 years' imprisonment.
5. The offender might also be liable to a fine of from VND 10,000,000 to VND 50,000,000.
6. Any person who promises to bribe a foreign official, an official of a public international organization or an office holder in an enterprise or organization other than state organizations shall be dealt with in accordance with this Article.
7. Any person who is forced to give bribes but voluntarily reports the bribery before being discovered shall be acquitted and have the money or property used as bribe returned. Any person who is not forced to give bribes but voluntarily report the bribery before being discovered might be exempt from criminal responsibility and have all or part of the money or property used as bribe returned.
As regulations above, if a person gives or presents a gift during the Lunar New Year in 2024 to a leader directly or through an intermediary, with the intention of having the leader do or not do something for their benefit or according to their request, they may be prosecuted for the crime of bribery.
A person who commits the crime of bribery may be fined from 20,000,000 VND to 200,000,000 VND, sentenced to a penalty of up to 03 years' community sentence or 06 - 240 months' imprisonment. In addition, they may also be fined from 10,000,000 VND to 50,000,000 VND.
Any person who is not forced to give bribes but voluntarily report the bribery before being discovered might be exempt from criminal responsibility and have all or part of the money or property used as bribe returned.
Pursuant to Article 24 of the Decree 59/2019/NĐ-CP stipulating regulations on giving gifts as follows:
- The office holding agencies, organizations, units or individuals can only use public finance or property as gifts for charity, foreign affairs and provision of benefits as per law.
- The act of giving gifts must serve the right policies, thresholds, standards and subjects as per law; the agencies, units giving gifts must record, account and publicize within the agency or unit as per law.