Prime Minister Hun Sen is to declare his assets today to the Kingdom’s Anti-Corruption Unit that, though not to be released publicly, is expected to serve as an example for other officials in ongoing efforts to tackle graft.
Sar Sambath, permanent member of the ACU, said yesterday that although the contents of the declaration would remain private, Hun Sen would publicly drop off his asset declaration documents today.
“By law, documents of the asset declaration by Prime Minister Hun Sen would be kept as confidential the same as other officials, but the process is open for the press to see.”
Yet critics have expressed concern over the effectiveness of the confidential nature of the declaration process, while spouses and family members of officials are not required to declare their assets.
“I think that corruption will remain widespread in the country if the asset declaration of an official remains confidential. Our people want to know about the assets of individual officials, so that people can make their own judgments about the government’s policy to fight corruption,” Yim Sovann, spokesman of the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said yesterday.
ACU spokesman Keo Remy said yesterday that the ACU has appealed to lawmakers, NGO leaders, selected senior civil servants, court officials, and police and military officers to declare all assets in writing before April 7.
“It is the first time in the Kingdom’s history that we have officials’ asset declarations, and I think the arrival of [Hun Sen] ... is a model for other officials,” he said.
The ACU previously said that about 100,000 officials would be required to declare their assets, but that number has dropped to 25,000, according to the latest ACU announcements.
Om Yentieng issued a notification on March 24 concerning failure to comply with the declaration deadline, saying they would face prison terms of between a month and a year and fines of up to 2 million riels (about US$500).