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Ministry backs push to curb ‘ghost’ salaries

Ministry backs push to curb ‘ghost’ salaries

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training is urging its top officials to cease providing salaries to civil servants who don’t come to work, threatening legal action against those who continue to permit the no-show payments.

In a statement dated Monday, the ministry said supervisors in various departments and offices would be the ones held responsible for trimming the inflated payrolls.

The announcement follows a declaration on August 15 from Anti-Corruption Unit head Om Yentieng, who vowed to hunt down “ghost names” on government payrolls. Recipients of these salaries either don’t show up for work or receive a paycheck for a job they don’t have.

Yentieng threatened jail time of up to two years and said ministries have three months to cut the excess fat.

The Labour Ministry is the second government institution to respond to the call, following a September 3 statement from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

Mam Sitha, chairwoman of the Independent Committee Against Corruption, said that the three-month timeframe could provide too big a window for unscrupulous officials to escape detection.

To combat the problem, she added, authorities should crack down immediately.

Yentieng didn’t say how many civil servants were suspected of receiving pay for no work, but 2008 data from the Council of Ministers put the figure at more than 10,000.

An official at the National Assembly who declined to be named confirmed yesterday that there were more than 1,000 civil servants on the parliament’s payroll, but said most don’t bother clocking in.

“There are about 400 to 500 people coming to work. Those who come [to work regularly] are still coming. Those who don’t are still not coming,” he said. “But when collecting the cash, they come in crowds.”

National Assembly secretary-general Leng Peng Long, who manages staffing lists, said he wasn’t authorised to comment.

Opposition lawmaker and chief of the parliament’s anti-corruption commission Ho Vann said his group would target any signs of irregularity.

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