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Sweden signs $2.7 million grant to combat corruption

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
TI Cambodia’s Preap Kol (left) with Sida senior education adviser Magnus Saemundssons. Photo supplied

Sweden signs $2.7 million grant to combat corruption

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) on Tuesday signed a three-year, 25.5 million krona ($2.65 million) grant agreement with Transparency International Cambodia (TI Cambodia).

The new agreement is expected to help combat corruption in the Kingdom and support work to strengthen transparency and accountability in the government.

The operations are intended to enhance compliance with the Anti-Corruption Law, the Embassy of Sweden in Cambodia said.

The EU and Sweden will work with partner institutions in Cambodia to strengthen the demand for and practice of transparency and accountability in the Kingdom’s public sector, the embassy said.

The grant will also contribute to the implementation of TI Cambodia’s Strategic Plan 2020-2022, Phase III “Collective Actions Against Corruption (CA2C)”.

The strategic plan comprises five core components – public sector engagement and coalition building; citizen and youth empowerment; business integrity; governance foundation and capacity development, and research and business development, it said.

“The overall goal of Partnership for Accountability and Transparency in Cambodia [PAT] is to create an enabling environment for the public financial management reform. This should be done through institutional capacity development.

“TI Cambodia’s role is to create awareness around corruption as a development challenge in Cambodian society,” the embassy said.

PAT is an EU programme that begun in 2016 and is carried out by Sweden.

According to Sida, “it aims to strengthen Cambodian authorities that work with statistics, public financial management, transparency and accountability to the citizens”.

Sida is a government agency operating under the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Transparency and accountability in decision-making, resource allocation, and service delivery are very important for democracy and the protection of human rights, the embassy’s first secretary and Sida senior education adviser Magnus Saemundssons said.

“We believe the programme, with engaged Cambodian partners and expertise from Swedish authorities, will contribute to positive change in many respects – anti-corruption, livelihoods and business climate.

“This is in line with priorities formulated by the Royal Government of Cambodia,” he said.

TI Cambodia executive director Preap Kol told The Post on Wednesday that increasing accountability and transparency through evidence-based advocacy, dialogue and civic engagement is fundamental to the anti-corruption effort and public financial management reform in Cambodia.

“There has been some improvement in certain sectors as a result of the government’s reform efforts such as tax revenue collection, education and local services.

“However, Cambodia is still suffering from political corruption ... We believe the generous financial support from Sida will help push Cambodia to the next level of development,” he said.

The Cambodian partners of the PAT programme include the National Institute of Statistics, the General Department of Taxation, the Parliamentary Institute of Cambodia, and TI Cambodia.

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