Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM vows to fight corruption

PM vows to fight corruption

PM vows to fight corruption

GOVERNMENT officials caught engaging in corrupt practices will be swiftly prosecuted under the Kingdom’s new Anticorruption Law, Prime Minister Hun Sen vowed Thursday.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony for students from the Royal School of Administration, the premier urged officials to stamp out corruption in all its forms, and called institutional graft “a dangerous disease”.

“I am optimistic that we still have the capacity to fight against this dangerous disease,” Hun Sen said. “Corruption will damage our institutions.”

But the premier also defended the Kingdom’s police, military and government institutions, saying that most officials do not engage in corruption.

“People who commit corruption, they do it secretly. But be aware that other people working with you will find some way to know about it,” he said.

Cambodia is regarded as one of the most corrupt nations in the region, according to Transparency International, which ranked the Kingdom 158th out of 180 countries in its 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index.

Observers have questioned whether the Anticorruption Law, passed earlier this year, will give officials enough tools to effectively and thoroughly combat graft.

Yong Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace, said he is concerned the new law lacks safeguards to protect whistle-blowers. Particularly troubling, he said, is an article outlining punishments of up to six months in jail or 10 million riels (US$2,386) in fines for complaints that lead to “useless inquiry”.

“This makes it a problem for the public to report about corrupt people,” Yong Kim Eng said.

It also remains to be seen whether the new Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) will be able to ensure witness confidentiality, he said, or whether the unit will be sufficiently independent – both politically and financially, since it falls under the auspices of the Council of Ministers – to carry out investigations.

After the law was passed in March, ACU officials acknowledged that extensive training would be required for those tasked with fighting graft.

Deputy Director Chhay Savuth said Thursday that the body was still in the process of “forming an internal structure”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY IRWIN LOY

MOST VIEWED

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National