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ACU orders nine officials to declare assets

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A man rides past the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) headquarters on Preah Norodom Blvd in the capital’s Daun Penh district. Hong Menea

ACU orders nine officials to declare assets

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) is searching for nine public servants who have not yet declared their assets and liabilities, a biennial obligation, warning that the penalties for those refusing to comply may be doubled.

In a press statement on February 7, the ACU said that in January it received 99.81 per cent of the total declarations required. The unit highly commended the excellent result of returns, saying it showed clear respect for the principles of law and the attentive efforts of anti-corruption focal points in all spheres of government.

However, it noted that as of January 31, nine individuals had not fulfilled their obligation despite repeated attempts to contact them.

“This has forced us to go public and invite them to come in and declare their assets and liabilities. If they refuse to do so, their punishments will be doubled,” it said.

The ACU identified the officials as Tim Sorn, an adviser to the Ministry of Information; Noy Nonn, deputy police chief of the Preah Sihanouk International Airport’s Department of Immigration; Yin Raksmey, head of Media and Information Division for the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction; Lim Lok Piseth, an adviser to the Ministry of Commerce.

The four other officials are Sam Sereyroth, deputy director-general at the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection; Som Saban and Serey Manop, both advisers to the ministry; and Tit Rithyny, an assistant at the ministry.

Heng Pisal, deputy cabinet head of the Ministry of Civil Service, was the final name on the list.

According to Article 38 of the Anti-Corruption Law, anyone who fails to declare or misrepresents their assets and liabilities shall be punished by imprisonment from one month to one year and be fined up to two million riel ($500). They will also be forced to declare their assets.

Pech Pisey, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia (TI Cambodia), said that naming these individuals was in compliance with the provisions of the Anti-Corruption Law, which clearly defines the obligations of individuals to declare assets and liabilities.

“I have no specific information and do not know exactly why these individuals did not come in to declare their assets and liabilities. But I know that the declaration procedure is in the law and the unit has a clear timeline. It is possible that these officials have just been negligent or had personal issues,” he said.

Pisey requested the government review the Anti-Corruption Law to pave the way for the declaration of assets of officials to be public, as the current law provides for the declaration of assets and liabilities to be kept confidential. Unless serious irregularities occur, the public will never see them.

According to Khoy Limhong, the assistant to the ACU, approximately 50,000 officials nationwide are expected to declare their assets.

Nop Channarin, spokesman for the National Assembly-Senate relations ministry, told The Post on February 7 that after receiving a formal notification from the ACU, those officials who failed to declare their assets and liabilities would declare them this week.

He said the reason some officials at the ministry had failed to perform this duty was because they were on missions for the ministry and did not intend to evade the declaration. Some said they had gotten confused by the date.

“The leadership of the ministry will continue to advertise for these individuals to come in and declare their assets as soon as they receive the word,” he added.

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