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Anti-graft body announced

Anti-graft body announced

Council to tackle official declarations of assets as its first task.

THE government on Tuesday revealed all 11 members of the National Anticorruption Council (NACC) during an inaugural meeting that included the naming of a chairman and deputy chairman.

The NACC – one of two bodies established by the new Anticorruption Law passed by the National Assembly in March – is responsible for framing the government’s anticorruption strategy, and will report directly to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

During a press conference shortly after being elected NACC chairman, Top Sam, a former member of the Constitutional Council, said the public “had a right” to be sceptical about the potential effectiveness of the body, but emphasised the need to withhold judgment and allow the members to go about their work.

“The members of the NACC must enforce the law,” he said.

The appointment of Top Sam and Prak Sok, also a former Constitutional Council member, to the NACC was announced last week when they were selected, respectively, by the National Assembly and the Senate.

On Tuesday, Prak Sok was elected to serve as deputy chairman of the body.

Om Yentieng, a senior adviser to the prime minister and chairman of the government-run Cambodian Human Rights Committee, automatically became a member of the NACC when Prime Minister Hun Sen appointed him chairman of the Anticorruption Unit. That appointment was announced late last month.

Om Yentieng said Tuesday that investigations of the asset declarations of government officials will be the commission’s first priority.

He added that he believes the NACC’s efforts to combat corruption will be successful.

“We believe it can reduce corruption a lot,” he said.

Seven of the remaining eight NACC members announced Tuesday – Uth Chhorn, Chiv Keng, Keo Remy, Som Kim Sour, Heng Vong Bunchhat, Suy Mong Leang and Chan Tany – were appointed to the body by government institutions, and Kuy Sophal was selected by King Norodom Sihamoni.

Opposition Sam Rainsy Party spokesman Yim Sovann noted that most of the NACC members are also members of the Cambodian People’s Party – a factor that he said could potentially hinder their efforts to expose graft.

“We have very little hope,” he said. “Most of the corrupters are in the Council of Ministers, or [elsewhere] in the government. Will the NACC dare to take action?”

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