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Transparency International opens up to new members

Transparency International opens up to new members

The Cambodian arm of anti-corruption group Transparency International aims to get greater grassroots support for its work and turn itself into a “social movement” by opening up to individual and group memberships.

“Since corruption affects the daily lives of everyone, it is only logical that any effort to curtail corruption, to be effective, shall engage the public from the bottom,” Ok Serei Sopheak, chairman of the board of TI Cambodia said in a statement after a meeting in Phnom Penh on Friday.

The group said opening its membership was a step to becoming the leading local group fighting corruption.

TI Cambodia is one of over 100 national branches of the Berlin-based global corruption watchdog, which releases a corruption perceptions index every year. TI has ranked Cambodia as the most corrupt country in ASEAN for four consecutive years.

The policy is still in a transitional period, with members only serving an advisory role for the first three years. Current TIC director Preap Kol has also announced that he will step down at the end of that three year period.

“We want to be a social movement against corruption that includes all sectors,” Kol said yesterday.

“The members will have ownership over the organisation,” Kol said, explaining that they will be given voting power to decide things like internal bylaws, board of director nominations and annual reports.

According to TI Cambodia’s website, applicants to join the organisation must have a clean record in regards to felonies, corruption and human rights abuses, and be “nonpartisan”. An applicant must also “demonstrate its determination, diligence and competence to combat corruption in its own entity”.

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