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ACU declines to set deadline for officials

ACU declines to set deadline for officials

The government’s anticorruption unit has declined to set a new deadline for about 300 high-ranking government officials who failed to lodge an asset declaration before an April 7 deadline as part of an effort to tackle graft in the Kingdom.

“We found that individual officials who failed to lodge an asset declaration because of personal problems such as illness or living far away …[that] it is an appropriate reason,” ACU President Om Yentieng said yesterday.

“Therefore we cannot force them [to respect the law], we will wait until they can come.”

Om Yentieng issued a statement on March 24 declaring that government officials who failed to comply with the April 7 deadline could face between one month and one year in prison and fines of up to 2 million riel (about US$490).

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann said yesterday that opposition lawmakers were appealing to officials who failed to meet the deadline to fulfill their obligation under the law.

“I understand their difficulty, but I would like to appeal that senior government officials have to respect the law, because this is part of a government [effort] to fight against corruption at the high-ranking level,” he said.

The ACU has previously stated that about 100,000 officials would be required to declare their assets, but that number has since dropped to 25,000, according to the latest announcements.

Opposition lawmakers have previously criticised the Anticorruption Law as inadequate for permitting officials to disclose their assets confidentially.

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$1,125) and would declare his assets again by 2013.

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