WASHINGTON - Corruption remains a major impediment to Cambodia’s development, but the systemic practices associated with it can be curbed if the government takes serious action, a transparency advocate says.
Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, told VOA Khmer in a studio interview recently that Cambodia has an anti-corruption law that combined with political will has the power to scare some officials away from corrupt practices.
Preap Kol was in Washington for a three-day trip earlier this month, meeting with US State Department officials and civic groups.
If no action is taken, corruption will continue to harm the country’s development, he said. However, he added, simply arresting those at fault will not work, due to the widespread nature of the practices.
“Cambodia doesn’t have enough prisons to detain all the corrupt officials if enforcement of the law required all the arrests,” he said.
Instead, he suggested better education and leadership of the country to curb the practice where it starts. He also appealed to individuals to stay their own practices of corruption.
Cambodia has made some progress in the prosecution of corrupt state officials, including the arrests of judges, prosecutors and others charged with malfeasance. But systemic corruption continues, from the lowest levels of government and business, to the top levels of public office.
“If the government and the institutions involved don’t pay attention, and take effective action, corruption will be an impediment for the development of Cambodia,” Preap Kol said. “So the strategy is to look into these key issues.”