Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Corruption worse than in Bangladesh: NGO

Corruption worse than in Bangladesh: NGO

Corruption worse than in Bangladesh: NGO

In a country where corruption is as rife as it is in Cambodia, global brands must work with governments to ensure garment factories are safe and working conditions legal, international NGO Transparency International (TI) said yesterday.

Responding to reports that some retailers will leave Bangladesh following the Rana Plaza factory collapse that killed more than 1,100 people in April, TI said brands should instead work towards safer, less corrupt markets in countries from which they buy.

In Cambodia, where two workers were killed when a ceiling collapsed at the Wing Star Shoes factory on May 16, corruption is more extreme than in Bangladesh, TI said.

According to TI, 0 suggests extreme corruption, while 100 makes a country “highly clean”.

Cambodia scored 22, making it perceived as more corrupt than Bangladesh (26), Pakistan (27) and Vietnam (31).

“This suggests widespread corruption risk, which could make safety inspection vulnerable to bribery,” a statement from TI says.

Leng Tong, director of the Ministry of Labour’s occupational health and safety department, said corruption had been an issue among some government officials whose work focused on the garment sector.

“We’ve investigated certain officials who have taken money while inspecting factories,” he said, without elaborating on how many. “We have suspended them.”

Those officials, however, were not actually fired, he added.

Jason Judd, a technical specialist for the International Labour Organization’s monitoring program Better Factories Cambodia (BFC), declined to comment on whether corruption was as prevalent in the garment sector as elsewhere in the country. BFC’s compliance assessments, which focus primarily on working conditions, did not cover some issues raised by TI, including bribery and collusion when it came to licensing and permits, he said.

Dave Welsh, American Center for International Labor Solidarity country manager, said brands, factories and the government needed to respond better to issues raised by BFC.

Welsh added that because Ministry of Labour officials were underpaid, “perhaps they are less inclined to do their jobs and more susceptible to alternative modes of payment”.

Additional reporting by Mom Kunthear

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the