The Ministry of Justice denied allegations of corruption and irregularities in the recruitment examination for the 10th generation of judicial students, which took place in December last year.

However, the ministry said it would improve after it was grilled on Tuesday by the Supreme Council for Consultation and Recommendations.

The recruitment examination took place smoothly and without any incidents of corruption, said Minister Ang Vong Vathana via the ministry’s official Facebook page.

The minister made a string of statements defending himself regarding the examination process, saying it was organised thoroughly and under strict supervision.

He said the procedure was recognised by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), as well as the Royal Academy for Judicial Professions.

“Ministry of Justice delegates clarified the case to the Supreme Council for Consultation [and Recommendations]. The delegates laid out the principles observed during the examination to ensure it took place transparently, correctly and credibly, in accordance with internal regulations,” said Vong Vathana.

He said the ministry also heard concerns of some political party delegates who cited some loopholes in the implementation of the legal procedure and corruption issues within the judicial body.

“The Ministry of Justice welcomed comments and requests from members of the Supreme Council for Consultation [and Recommendations]. It regarded the comments as significant insights for the betterment of the judiciary,” he said.

Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung, a member of the Supreme Council, told The Post on Wednesday that the ministry’s denial of irregularities in the examination was just an excuse.

He vowed that he would continue to monitor the issues cited and submit a report to the prime minister.

“We arrived at good results after nearly one hour of debating. The Ministry of Justice acknowledged that there are loopholes in the enforcement of the law.

“We [the Supreme Council] stand by our stance that the recently concluded recruitment examination was illegal,” he said.

In a press release following the debate on Tuesday, the Supreme Council said that irregularities and issues of inaction, abuse of power and corruption within the ministry must be promptly addressed.

“Because of the irregularities cited, Samdech Techo [Prime Minister Hun Sen] initiated the establishment of the Supreme Council for Consultation [and Recommendations] to serve the interests of the Cambodian people.

“The Supreme Council aims to strengthen the rule of law by monitoring its effective and proper enforcement in the Kingdom,” it said.

The Supreme Council also urged the ministry to strengthen its prosecutorial body and carry out its affairs legally, especially when dealing with land disputes.

The prosecutors must be active in building criminal case files, such as criminal complaints over physical violence, he said.

However, Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director Sam Chey noted that the Supreme Council’s mechanism does not seem competitive or effective enough to contribute in making reforms, as compared to the National Assembly, which consists of members from different political parties.

“If there are many bodies like the parties in the National Assembly, a fierce debate will ensue. Though some important points have been raised, the Supreme Council for Consultation [and Recommendations] does the work in a non-competitive manner,” he said.