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Mystery official ignores ACU

One senior official failed to lodge an asset declaration before an April 7 deadline as part of an ongoing effort to tackle graft in the Kingdom, an official said yesterday.

Sar Sambath, permanent member of the Anticorruption Unit, yesterday declined to identify the official involved but said the issue would be discussed with ACU head Om Yentieng at a closed-door meeting today.

“Only one senior government official failed to lodge an asset declaration,” he said. “We will wait to see [what will happen] during the meeting.”

Om Yentieng issued a statement on March 24 declaring that government officials who failed to comply with the deadline could face between a month and a year in prison and fines of up to 2 million riel (about US$500).

The ACU has previously appealed to lawmakers, NGO leaders, selected senior civil servants, court officials, and police and military officers to declare all assets in writing. The ACU had stated that about 100,000 officials would be required to declare their assets, but that number has dropped to 25,000 according to the latest announcements.

While no official statistics have been released about the number of asset declarations submitted by the deadline, Sar Sambath said that the process was conducted smoothly and was “100 percent completed”.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann said yesterday that the Anticorruption Law was inadequate because it required that asset declarations remain confidential.

“The asset declarations were conducted confidentially, therefore there is nothing [for officials] to be scared of,” he said. “If officials fail to declare their assets, the ACU must punish them under the law.”

Prime Minister Hun Sen declared his assets confidentially on April 1, but announced publicly that he earned a monthly salary of 4,600,000 riel (US$1,143) and would declare his assets again by 2013.

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