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Officials in hot seat over assets silence

Officials in hot seat over assets silence

Five retired officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs could face legal action if they fail to declare their assets, the Anti-Corruption Unit has warned.

In a letter dated August 4 and posted to the ACU website yesterday, Sin Sopheap, acting director of the ACU’s assets declaration department, named the officials as ex-advisers Huon Demontero Phillip, who held a rank equal to director general, and Kong Hean, Sok Sokun, Nou Sambath and Sem Soeun, who held ranks equivalent to deputy director general.

All four resigned and had their positions officially terminated in September 2013. However, under Article 18 of the Anti-Corruption Law, officials are required to declare their assets 30 days before leaving their position, or within 30 days of their position being stripped.

The five have failed to do so, Sopheap wrote, and the ACU has been unable to contact them.

Anyone who fails to properly declare their assets, the letter continues, “will be sentenced from a month to a year in prison, and fined 100,000 riels to 2 million riel [about $25 to $500]”.

If they still decline to file, the punishment is doubled.

San Chey, of the accountability NGO ANSA-EAP, said that no action had been taken because of the ex-officials’ high status.

“On the other hand,” he added, “the method of declaring assets is also meaningless because they’re declared secretly and put in closed envelopes.”

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