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Officials called out for failure to report assets

Officials called out for failure to report assets

The Anti-Corruption Unit on Tuesday warned four civil servants to file their overdue official asset declaration forms or face legal consequences, though it did not name the allegedly delinquent officials, according to a statement posted by the unit’s overseeing body, the National Anti-Corruption Council (NACC).

The two bodies discussed the matter of the overdue asset declarations – which civil servants are required to file every two years, though at staggered times – at a meeting on Tuesday where the ACU reported on its recent work to the NACC.

“The ACU follows this closely, and urges the declaration of assets before the ACU takes action and brings them to justice,” said a statement posted to the NACC website. “Those people have already been told publicly to declare their assets many times.”

The statement said more than 5,100 officials were due to file declarations in May, but ACU President Om Yentieng could not be reached to confirm the names of those accused of being delinquent.

However, in December 2013, the ACU sent letters to three former Senate advisers instructing them to complete their declarations by January 31. Though one complied, ex-advisers Vong Sopheap and Kheang Leap still haven’t filed because they live abroad, Senate Secretary-General Oum Sarith said yesterday.

“That is not a fault of the Senate,” he said. “We have already reported it to the ACU that the two live abroad, [but] by law, before resigning, individuals have to declare their assets, or else the ACU has the right to file a court case.”

Article 38 of the Anti-Corruption Law states that those failing to file asset declarations can face up to one year in jail and fines up to $250, but the organisation has come under fire in the past for its
lax enforcement.

In fact, the asset declaration process as a whole has repeatedly been criticised for its opacity and ineffectiveness. Declarations are filed in sealed envelopes, which are not made available to the public, and cannot even be opened by the ACU except in the case of an already-open investigation.

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