President Nguyen Minh Triet ratified the convention, a UN statement said, following a report Friday in the Phap Luat HCM City (HCM City Law) newspaper, which said he ratified the pact on Tuesday.

An official in the president's office would only confirm that the media reports were correct.

The convention, which took effect in 2005, introduced a comprehensive set of standards, measures and rules for countries to strengthen their legal and regulatory regimes against corruption.

It also called for preventive measures and criminalisation of the most prevalent forms of public and private graft.

Implementation of the agreement "will complement and strengthen Vietnam's ongoing efforts to reduce corruption," the UN statement said.

Jairo Acuna-Alfaro, a UN anti-corruption policy adviser, said Vietnam has now committed itself to regularly reporting to the international community on how it is implementing the pact.

"Vietnam already has a comprehensive legal framework to fight corruption in place but implementation of the framework is weak and uncoordinated," Acuna-Alfaro said.

"With the reporting that is now required, gaps and loopholes in the legal framework can better be spotted and, over time, be addressed properly."

In March, Vietnam pledged to use aid loans from Japan effectively after a resumption of aid that had been suspended over corruption involving a highway project. Japan is its biggest bilateral donor.

Vietnam's communist rulers insist they have made fighting corruption a priority, but Hanoi's international donors have said the country is not doing enough.

Former Communist Party head Le Kha Phieu in April called for tougher anti-corruption measures, saying progress "leaves much to be desired."

Transparency International, a global graft watchdog, gave Vietnam a score of 2.7 on its latest Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranges from zero - deemed highly corrupt - to 10, highly clean.

More than 140 countries have already signed the anti-corruption pact.

Agence France Presse - July, 6, 2009