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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Anti-graft law likely to stall, NGOs say

Anti-graft law likely to stall, NGOs say

RIGHTS groups last week said an anti-corruption law slated for passage in 2009 would likely be held up, despite its being described as a priority by the Council of Ministers.

Heang Rithy, president of the Cambodian National Research Organisation, said Thursday the law could not be issued because it would target current government officials who have made substantial fortunes from corruption.

He added that even if the law were to go forward, it would not likely pass the courts, which he said have become political tools of the government.

"There are many corrupt officials in the government, so any law targeting them could never come from the government," he said. "I have no confidence that it will ever pass."  

Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, said the government has consistently ignored calls by rights groups to enact anti-corruption legislation, adding that wealthy officials will resist any such move.

According to the draft law, all high-ranking officials would be required to declare their personal wealth, he said, and that doing so could directly implicate them in corruption schemes.

Opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said the government only began considering the law in response to demands by foreign aid donors for greater accountability and transparency.

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