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Anti-graft ‘action plan’ in the works

Anti-graft ‘action plan’ in the works

THE head of the government’s Anticorruption Unit said yesterday that members planned to finalise a sub-decree this week outlining its obligations and investigative procedures, points that have remained unclear in the four months since the long-awaited Anticorruption Law was passed.

Speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop yesterday, Om Yentieng, who is also a senior adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen and chairman of the government-run Cambodian Human Rights Committee, said the roughly 100 officials and civil society representatives would “study and build
an activity plan for the Anticorruption Unit that people throughout the country are waiting for”.

He said the sub-decree would be submitted to the Council of Ministers after the workshop wraps up Friday.

Details of what the sub-decree might focus on were unavailable Wednesday.

The Anticorruption Law, which is set to come into effect in November, includes provisions that would give the ACU the ability to punish, among other things, “illicit enrichment”, or an unexplained increase in an individual’s wealth. At an ACU workshop in April, however, officials said it was not clear precisely how the body would operate under the new law.

In a statement issued Wednesday, development NGO Pact Cambodia, an organiser of the workshop, said it was intended to assist the ACU in getting off to a strong start in the fight against graft.

“If there is no strong visible impact, the public will become disappointed and become more cynical about the government’s political will to fight corruption,” Pact said. “Hence the workshop is designed to come up with a comprehensive action plan.”

Flynn Fuller, mission director of USAID, which funded the workshop, could not be reached for comment yesterday, but US embassy spokesman John Johnson said in May that the US was committed to continued support of Cambodia’s anticorruption efforts.

“Corruption in the public and private sectors actively deters foreign investment in Cambodia, and we hope that the new law, combined with other initiatives, will help decrease instances of corruption in the future,” he said.

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