Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Deadline for asset declaration looms

Deadline for asset declaration looms

Deadline for asset declaration looms

Ten days before the deadline closes on the Anti-Corruption Unit’s much-criticised asset declaration process, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged officials to submit their confidential list of holdings.

Speaking at a land-title distribution ceremony in Stung Treng province, Hun Sen said he had already declared his assets and called on others to follow suit.

“All officials please go to declare your properties, because I had declared my properties already. Only 10 days more. Please go quickly,” said Hun Sen.

Due January 31, the second round of declaration has come under fire for its lack of transparency. The law – which requires government employees ranging from low-ranking civil servants to the country’s most powerful officials to submit to the ACU sealed envelopes listing their assets – is ostensibly intended to allow the government ferret out corruption. But it has come under fire repeatedly for what critics call gaping loopholes. Assets under the names of spouses, for instance, do not have to be disclosed; cash holdings do not have to be disclosed and the contents of the envelopes are not publicly available.

As of Sunday, said Hun Sen, 62 per cent of the Kingdom’s approximately 23,000 officials had declared their property.

“Only 10 days more, everyone. The laws state [you have] only to January 31, so when you go back home, from day to night, work without weekends [to finish].”

Should officials fail to make the end-of-month deadlines, warned Hun Sen, legal action would be taken against them.

The first property and debt declaration was made in 2011. That same year, Cambodia ranked 164 of 183 countries in Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index. A year later, its standing was virtually unchanged: ranked 157 of 176 countries.

Social and economic researcher Kem Ley said it was commendable the government had taken steps to reduce corruption, but called the process in its current form incomplete.

“It should be declared publicly to know each person’s properties,” said Ley.

On December 9, 2012, Mr. Om Yentieng, president of ACU, said during Anti-Corruption Day that 2013 is the year to fight the corruption.

According to USAID estimates, Cambodia loses $300 million to $500 million annually to corruption.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group