3. Do not organize visits and New Year wishes to superiors and leaders at all levels; Do not organize a Central delegation to visit and wish New Year to party committees and authorities of provinces and cities; It is strictly forbidden to give Tet gifts to leaders at all levels in any form; Lead officials at all levels can only attend temple ceremonies and festivals when assigned; Do not participate in superstitious activities; Do not use state budget, means, or bonded assets as prescribed for festivals and entertainment activities... Strictly implement regulations on the responsibility of setting an example for officials and party members and what party members not to do.
According to this Article, the act of giving Tet gifts to leaders is a violation of the law in Vietnam. This behavior can be disciplined and even prosecuted for criminal liability depending on the nature and severity of the violation.
Is giving gifts to leaders during the 2024 Lunar New Year a crime of giving bribes in Vietnam? (Image from the Internet)
In Article 364 of the 2015 Criminal Code, there are provisions on 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.
Thus, if a person has the act of giving or giving gifts during the 2024 Lunar New Year to leaders directly or through intermediaries, with the purpose of getting the leader to do or not do something for their benefit or at their request, then may be prosecuted for criminal liability for giving bribes in Vietnam.
Violators of the crime of giving bribes in Vietnam may be fined from 20,000,000 VND to 200,000,000 VND, sentenced to community sentence for up to 03 years or imprisoned from 06 months to 20 years. There may also be a fine from 10,000,000 VND to 50,000,000 VND.
A bribe giver who is not forced but proactively declares before being discovered may be exempt from criminal liability and have part or all of the money used to pay the bribe returned in Vietnam.
Pursuant to Article 24 of Decree 59/2019/ND-CP regulating gift giving. Accordingly:
1. 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.
2. 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.