Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom improves in world graft survey

Kingdom improves in world graft survey

Kingdom improves in world graft survey

CAMBODIA has made slight improvement in an international corruption survey, but remains one of the most graft-ridden countries in Southeast Asia – in spite of recent government efforts to curb corrupt practices.

Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010, released yesterday, ranked Cambodia 154th out of 178 countries in a survey of perceived public-sector corruption, a marginal betterment of last year’s 158 ranking.

We should look at the concrete actions taken by the government.... Nothing has changed.

Though the country continued its slow climb in the ranking since dipping to 166th in 2007, it still came in well behind regional neighbours Vietnam, which was ranked 116th, Indonesia (110th) and Thailand (78th).
The Kingdom was rated on par with neighbouring Laos and scored well ahead of military-ruled Myanmar, which TI said was tied with Afghanistan for the worst score in the world.

This year’s index drew from 13 different expert and business surveys conducted between January 2009 and September 2010. Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore were seen as having the world’s cleanest governments, while Somalia came in at the bottom of the ranking.

The release of the TI index follows recent government promises to root out graft and increase public-sector transparency in Cambodia.

In April, the National Assembly passed the Kingdom’s long-awaited Anticorruption Law. By September, the National Anticorruption Council announced that it had established a five-year plan to fight corruption and was in the process of investigating 10 graft complaints against government officials.

NAC staff have also stated that up to 100,000 government workers will be required to disclose their assets to anti-graft investigators.

The new bodies, however, have attracted scepticism.

Earlier this month, international watchdog Global Witness said the government’s anti-graft drive was little more than “reformist rhetoric” designed to pacify international donors.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said the situation had clearly not improved.

“[The ranking] is a perception only,” he said. “But we should look at the concrete actions taken by the government. If we look at the political signs, nothing has changed.”

He added that the government’s effort to combat corruption had focused on low-level officials, such as policemen, but ignored high-ranking officials who are embezzling state assets on a large scale.

NAC spokesman Keo Remy could not be reached for comment yesterday, while Om Yentieng, the body’s chairman, said he did not have time to answer questions. But Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, dismissed the relatively low ranking awarded in TI’s index.

“I don’t pay attention that much. It’s not accurate,” he said, adding that it was impossible to compare countries of differing sizes, cultures and economic systems.

Phay Siphan said the new anticorruption bodies demonstrated the government’s commitment to fight graft in partnership with civil society and the Cambodian people.

“Everybody in Cambodia is talking louder against corruption,” he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • LPG gas explosion injures 13 people, including foreigners, in Siem Reap

    An explosion on Wednesday at a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) car and tuk-tuk refuelling station in Siem Reap city has left 13 people, including an American and a Briton, suffering burns. The seven most severely burned, including a provincial police officer, were sent to a Thai

  • Over 100 Chinese nationals to be deported for online scam

    The Ministry of Interior is planning to deport 128 Chinese nationals after they were arrested in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in an online money extortion scam. Y Sokhy, the head of the Department of Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime, told The Post

  • More than 800 people test positive for HIV in 2018

    The National Aids Authority (NAA) said more than 800 people tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) last year, joining over 76,000 others aged between 15 and 49 in the Kingdom already infected with the virus. The spread of HIV/AIDS in the Kingdom is showing few signs of

  • Rainsy vow to return on Nov 9 dismissed as ‘political warfare’

    An announcement from the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) that its “acting president” Sam Rainsy would return to the Kingdom on November 9 was dismissed on Sunday as “political warfare”. The CNRP made the announcement on Friday after a permanent committee meeting chaired by