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ACU set to open new provincial offices

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The headquarters of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) in Phnom Penh, as seen in 2015. Pha Lina

ACU set to open new provincial offices

Anti-Corruption Unit president Om Yentieng on Friday announced that the body will expand its operations to five provinces this year and sign agreements with 200 Chinese firms to cut out corruption.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an International Anti-Corruption Day celebration, Yentieng said the ACU needed to create offices in five provinces – Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Siem Reap, Svay Rieng and Kampong Cham in order to effectively combat corruption. “We will expand the ACU offices to the provinces to guarantee work on these new tasks,” he said on Friday. “Secondly, we will train an expert group of judicial police with expertise in various fields.”

Yentieng said the ACU will hire 200 new recruits, on top of its existing 500 judicial police, which would increase investigations into corruption-related crimes in the provinces. He singled out Preah Sihanouk as a hotbed of foreign investment, adding that it needed additional monitoring. The anti-corruption czar could not be reached yesterday.

The ACU boss claimed that about 200 Chinese firms would sign memoranda this month with the body promising to eliminate corruption within their companies. The ACU has already signed similar agreements with other major firms, such as Coca-Cola, though the agreements’ effectiveness has been frequently questioned.

Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said it was “questionable” if the government had the political will to effectively use the new offices, adding that a similar commitment was needed from investors to refrain from corrupt practices.

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