Vietnam needs to provide greater incentives and legal protection for whistleblowers, experts said at an international workshop on Nov. 3 organised by the Office of the Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption.

Nguyen Dinh Phach, head of the committee, said informants are critically important in the fight against corruption.

However, he said few come forward to expose wrongdoing because of reports about the whistleblowers facing retaliation for making reports.

"The regulations in many of our legal documents have not been implemented effectively enough to protect those who report corruption," Phach said.

According to Nguyen Huy Lan, chief of the Nghe An Central Anti-Corruption Steering Committee, said that since 2008 the committee has received 150 letters exposing corrupt practices.

The committee dealt with 42 cases and reclaimed more than 32,200 billion VND (1.5 billion USD).

However, Lan said Nghe An is renowned for threats made to whistleblowers - and cases of actual revenge.

"Those who were courageous enough to come forward are now feeling alone and insecure," Lan said. "There must be greater efforts to promote the role of the public in the fight against corruption."

Chu Su Jin, a representative from the Republic of Korea's Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, said RoK took various measures to protect those who reported corruption.

These included employment guarantees, keeping personal information secret, personal protection and financial incentives taken from recovered revenues as a result of their reports. The rewards could add up to 2 billion won (1.7 billion USD).

Speaking on the sideline of the conference, Le Van Lan, director of the Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption's General Affairs, said the Vietnamese legal system to protect whistleblowers had proven insufficient.

Lan said the Ministry of Public Security is establishing a separate regulation to protect those who exposed corruption and would submit it to Government.

"I agree that one of the best ways to protect whistleblowers is to tackle their information in an effective, timely and confidential manner," Lan said. "If we don't quickly solve the cases, those breaking the law will have more time to retaliate."./.