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State audit could face lawsuits: draft law

State agencies will be allowed to file legal challenges against the State Audit over unsatisfactory audit reports, according to a draft amendment to the Law on State Audit.

Nguyễn Đức Hải, chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Finance and Budget which was in charge of reviewing the amended law, delivered his report during a National Assembly Standing Committee meetingon Friday in Hà Nội. 

 

 

The Law on State Audit was in the spotlight on Friday morning as the National Assembly’s Standing Committee gathered again on its fifth working day to discuss proposed amendments to the law.

Accordingly, two clauses are to be added to Article 56 which will give audited units the right to file a complaint over the State auditor’s behaviour in the audit process or the audit report if they find it illegal or threatening to their legitimate rights. The complainants will be able to pursue a lawsuit against the State Audit if their questions are not handled properly by the State Auditor General.

The State audit is tasked with carrying audits at all central Government agencies and provincial departments and units to oversee the use of State budget and assets.

Nguyễn Đức Hải, chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee for Finance and Budget which was in charge of reviewing the amended law, said that the current Law on State Audit already regulated the process of handling complaints over audit reports. They were, however, very vague and did not guarantee the right of audited units to bring the matter to court.

Several National Assembly deputies expressed their support for the amendment, Hải said.

The National Assembly’s Committee for Legal Affairs chairwoman Lê Thị Nga also agreed with the new amendment, but doubted the regulation over the responsibility of the audited units during an on-going legal case.

According to the draft law, the complainants must accept the auditors’ report and abide by any demands by the auditors even if their lawsuits are yet to be settled.

Nga said that it was “inappropriate” and needed “reconsideration for adjustment”.

Government's legal documents

In the afternoon session, the NA Standing Committee heard and discussed the Government’s proposals on amendments to the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents, presented by justice minister Lê Thành Long on behalf of the Government. 

Part of the proposed amendments is to make the Government bodies that submitted the draft laws also in charge of receiving and amending draft laws, ordinances, and resolutions, based on feedback from the public and the NA. 

The Government argued that this will help fix shortcomings that have manifested recently, by “ensuring continuity and consistency in the making of the law, ordinances and draft resolutions from research, policy recommendations, to drafting, submitting, and revising.” 

Minister Long also said that this would increase the pro-activeness and the responsibility of the drafting agencies, while keeping the NA Standing Committee’s role in directing account-giving, receiving and amending the laws. 

However, members of the NA’s top body didn’t think it was a good idea.

NA vice chair Phùng Quốc Hiển said that in the last 17 years, complaints over the quality of draft laws rarely had to do with the reviewing committee but the shortcomings of the law and the drafting body’s preparedness. 

NA Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân said she personally was not in favour of the Government’s proposal. 

“During the making of the law on the promulgation of legal documents in 2015, the National Assembly discussed at length about this issue and didn’t find the proposal reasonable,” she said, adding that Việt Nam’s political system is stipulated in the Constitution, in which the National Assembly’s role is not just ratifying the Constitution or legal documents, but also making the laws. 

The role-switching will make it harder to maintain oversight over the adoption of revisions and adjustments that the National Assembly demanded and make sure that the will of the constituents is respected. VNS 

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