National Assembly lawmakers are preparing to approve an amendment to the anti-corruption law when their next session opens next week that would give more power to the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit and other minor adjustments.
The proposed amendments would allow the head of the ACU to appoint and remove members of the unit who are now there by appointment.
The proposed amendments also include moving the funds for the unit from the Council of Ministers to the national budget and the elimination of an article holding up legal implementation of the anti-corruption law. The removal of Article 57 would put the anti-corruption law in line with the new penal code passed in December.
“The amendments to the anti-corruption law’s three articles are aimed at speeding up the work of the Anti-Corruption Council to be more effective for various corruption offenses,” said Sik Bunhok, deputy chairman of the National Assembly’s legislative committee.
At least senior government officials are facing charges under the new law, for offenses related to drug trafficking and corruption.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a recent statement to the National Assembly that the amendments are needed to improve the speed and effectiveness of the law.
Mam Sitha, president of the Cambodian Independent Anti-Corruption Committee, said the amendments were an improvement to the law, but that its implementation was up to the will of members of the Anti-Corruption Council and the Anti-Corruption Unit.
The council, which currently appoints members of the unit, provides overall management of the law, while the ACU is in charge of investigations.
The changes to the law come as officials work to bring it into full effect, including a declaration of assets by public servants.
Keo Remy, a spokesman for the council, said more than 100,000 officials so far have submitted their declarations, with more working toward a deadline of April 7.