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First day of civil servant asset declarations yields 50%

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A banner from the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) reminding civil servants about asset declarations. ACU

First day of civil servant asset declarations yields 50%

In the first day of this year’s state mandated declarations of assets and liabilities, the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) received 11,738 declarations. Two national institutions and eight provincial administrations provided 100 per cent of the declarations on January 1.

Cambodian anti-corruption law requires officials to declare all assets and liabilities, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the country.

According to article 17 of the anti-corruption law, all members of the Senate, the National Assembly, appointed public officials with a specific mandate, members of the National Council Against Corruption, and ACU officials must submit declarations.

Also obligated are civil and public servants, including police, military personnel, officials from the judicial branch and the leaders of civil society organisations.

They must submit declarations by the end of January, every two years.

Newly elected or employed individuals must submit a declaration within 30 days of taking office, with a second declaration taking place in January of their third year. Additionally, a declaration must be submitted within 30 days of leaving office.

Soy Chanvichet, ACU spokesman, told The Post on January 2 that the 11,738 declarations it received on January 1 were equal to 51.42 per cent of the total that were due.

He said the National Election Committee and the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation were the only two national institutions that had submitted 100 per cent of the declarations.

Eight provincial administrations also achieved a 100 per cent result – Pailin, Mondulkiri, Kampong Speu, Pursat, Takeo, Kampong Cham, Siem Reap, and Tbong Khmum.

Chanvichet said the ACU issued a reminder last October that the biennial declarations would be due this year.

An ACU statement said an assets and liabilities department working group will be available to accept documents seven days a week for the entire month.

According to Chanvichet, there had been no cases of late declarations which required article 38 – which defined penalties – to be employed, but there were about ten cases where officials had been sent to court on other corruption charges.

“The declarations remain sealed. Envelopes or electronic documents may only be unsealed or opened if the ACU determine it is necessary for investigative purposes,” he said.

Transparency International Cambodia executive director Pech Pisey said public servants have no choice but to declare their assets and he hoped they would comply.

“The principles of transparency – and the integrity of the universal declaration framework of the UN – encourage the public declaration of assets, so voters are aware of the financial standing of officials, however, this is not specified in Cambodian law,” he added.

He said the spouses and family members of public servants are not required to declare their assets under Cambodian law, as is common in many other countries.

“If it is possible to revise the legislation to include a full public disclosure of assets and those of family members, we would encourage the government to do so,” he added.

He acknowledged that the ACU had carried out its role efficiently, as defined by current laws.

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