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Sar Kheng raps cops on bribes

Sar Kheng raps cops on bribes

Deputy PM says graft must stop or police face dismissal

MINISTER of Interior Sar Kheng has issued a warning to high-ranking police officials caught obtaining a promotion through bribery, warning offenders that they risk dismissal.

Sar Kheng, who also acts as deputy prime minister,  said that he was committed to eliminating the culture of graft because it was causing a decline in the quality of police work.

"How can those individual police fight against economic crimes when they commit crimes themselves?" Sar Kheng said as he presided over the appointment of new National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun on Friday.

"Now there is a lot of bribery [for positions], and some individual department police chiefs do not want to reshuffle," he said. "If we cannot eliminate [bribery], our police will lose their dignity," he said.

Neth Savoeun is married to a niece of Prime Minister Hun Sen and has replaced former police chief Hok Lundy, who died in a helicopter crash earlier this month.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Mu Sochua said that the promotion of an individual government official through the system of political affiliation and bribery would not aid government reforms.

"The current system will continue to create a greater culture of corruption and impunity, and will have a serious impact on both public service and security," she said.

She said also that the lack of professionalism and independence in the police force would continue to erode public confidence, adding that nothing has changed because using bribery to rise through government ranks is normal.

"We want to see real commitment from the government to make reforms," Mu Sochua said, adding that the government must release the results of long-term investigations of the high-profile slayings of actresses, union leaders, journalists and the victims of a grenade attack on a peaceful demonstration in March 1997.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said that many government officials have complained about the system of bribes-for-posts, which they say is unfair and impacts negatively on the ongoing good governance reforms.

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