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Corruption Mitigation a Challenge for All: Activist

Cambodia is ranked No. 154 of 178 countries for corruption by Transparency International.

Cambodia has the potential to rid itself of rampant corruption, but that will require the participation of all, a prominent activist said Monday.

“It is not hopeless for Cambodian society to eliminate corruption,” said Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

Cambodia has a new anti-corruption law and investigative body, and government officials are now in the process of declaring their assets under the new legislation.

That provision will help, Sok Sam Oeun said.

“The asset declaration makes those who declare feel afraid to commit corruption,” he said. “It also enables the work of corruption investigations.”

Callers to Monday night’s show expressed skepticism over implementation of the law and some said they doubted the independence of the Anti-Corruption Unit, which is headed by a senior adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In response to concerns over whether the new body can properly investigate corruption committed before the inception of the law, Sok Sam Oeun said it was better to concentrate of the future.

A main challenge is a lack of knowledge about the issue and insufficient willingness of people to cooperate in anti-corruption measures, he said.