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Assembly Adjusts Corruption Law for Better: Analysts

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.

The National Assembly approved amendments to the country’s anti-corruption law Friday in what analysts say moves a key investigative body away from the administrative cabinet.

The amendments to the law will give more power to the head of the Anti-Corruption Body, which has executive power to conduct investigations.

A key amendment takes the ACU’s budget away from the Council of Ministers and puts it under the overall national budget, which is controlled by the Ministry of Finance.

Proponents of the amendments said Friday they would help activate anti-corruption legislation.

Om Yintieng, the head of the ACU and a senior adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, told lawmakers in session Friday the amendments would help him fight corruption. Under the amendments, he will now have more say in staffing the unit.

Thun Saray, president of the rights group Adhoc, said the removal of the ACU’s budget from the Council of Ministers would give the unit more autonomy, but he urged the unit to work independently and without fear of senior officials.

He also welcomed the provisions that would allow the head of the ACU more control over the unit, which he said would help improve its work and give it more prestige.

However, Am Sam Ath, head of investigation for the rights group Licadho, said the new law, as others, will only help if it is properly implemented by the ACU.

With more independence of budget, the ACU now must show the will to fight corruption, he said.