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Ministry cautions against army candidates paying illegal bribes

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Candidates line up for the RCAF entrance exam at Phnom Penh’s Preah Sisowath High School in January. Photo supplied

Ministry cautions against army candidates paying illegal bribes

The Ministry of National Defence’s volunteer recruitment committee has advised youths against paying bribes to gain admittance to the infantry.

The committee issued a notice last week, which said youth volunteers need to pass an examination to join the infantry within the framework of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF).

“This transparently provides the opportunity and justice for youths applying to the RCAF. It is especially important to prevent bribery, which is contrary to the principles set by the government and the ministry.

“The committee calls on the public, parents, guardians and all candidates to provide information in case any individuals demand money in exchange for recruitment into the armed forces.

“All volunteer candidates who submit application forms are not required to pay money.

“All individuals who go against these principles must be responsible before the law,” the committee said.

Ministry spokesperson Chhum Socheat said on Sunday that the notice was issued as a precaution so that the public would not be deceived by nefarious people looking for bribes.

“This year, we recruited more than 2,000 new soldiers into the framework to fill up vacancies created by retirees. Many active soldiers were promoted to succeed [retiring commanding officers]. So, to prevent some people from taking advantage of recruits, we are alerting them in advance,” he said.

The ministry had also recently implemented the policy of recruiting candidates through the examination, which is monitored by several committees, Socheat said.

The new policy, overlooked by multiple committees, makes it harder for recruits to pass the examination through shortcuts.

Transparency International Cambodia executive director Preap Kol said that in the past, opportunists had tried to take bribes, so the ministry is concerned about recruits being cheated by them.

“In the past, unscrupulous officials have tried to take bribes with the promise of helping them find jobs in the army. Therefore, [the ministry] is concerned.

“To prevent this problem, candidates are required to apply to take the examination and compete transparently. The examination will be managed by multiple recruitment-related committees,” he said.

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