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Cambodia slips in corruption rating

Cambodia slips in corruption rating

The new Transparency International graft rankings are out and the Kingdom has dropped five positions from last year, now 14 from bottom

CAMBODIA'S annual corruption rating has plummeted, according to an international transparency index.

The ratings, released by Transparency International (TI) in Berlin Tuesday, ranked Cambodia the 14th-most corrupt country in the world, five positions worse than its 2007 rating, and the most corrupt country in Asia after Myanmar.

"In the poorest countries, corruption levels can mean the difference between life and death, when money for hospitals or clean water is in play," TI said at the report launch.

Municipal health director Veng Thai denied that corruption could be claiming lives in the Kingdom, saying "there is not much corruption in the health system in Cambodia".

Bun Uy, secretary of state for the Council of Ministers, also said Tuesday that the ratings were meaningless.

"Every country has corruption. Even if they are rich countries, they are still corrupt," he said. "The prime ministers of Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand are all accused of corruption even though they are rich countries," Bun Uy said.

Om Yentieng, Prime Minister Hun Sen's adviser on human rights, criticised the organisation for using developing countries as a political tool.

"This organisation is putting Cambodia to the bottom just to mock it. What are the ratings based on?" Om Yentieng said.

But Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) said Cambodia's ranking showed the government was still "holding the country hostage [to corruption]."

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