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Officials Dispute Transparency International’s Corruption Index

International Transparency released a corruption perceptions in 2015, claiming that "not one single country, anywhere in the world, is corruption-free." (Screenshot from International Transparency)

Transparency International scores Cambodia 21 points out of 100 on its Corruption Perceptions Index 2015.

Cambodia scored very poorly on a perceived corruption index, put out each year by Transparency International, but a government spokesman says the report doesn’t reflect the “effort” the government has put into combating the practice.

Transparency International scores Cambodia 21 points out of 100 on its Corruption Perceptions Index 2015. The closer to zero a country scores, the more corrupt it is perceived by the people who live in it. That puts Cambodia No. 150 of 168 countries.

Sok Eysan, a spokesman and lawmaker for the Cambodian People’s Party, said the score is not an accurate picture of Cambodia. “I’m not interested in the score,” he said.

“This corruption issue requires us to work together in all sectors and environments in order to prevent it, because this issue can’t be done all at once,” he said. “It requires us to do it regularly and in a long-term way.”

Om Yin Tieng, head of the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit, said the transparency assessment was made with not enough data and could create a “trap” of one country comparing itself to another. “We are not relating to this score or interested in it,” he said.

Cambodia’s score of 21 out of 100 puts it on par with Burundi and Zimbabwe on the index. In Southeast Asia, Myanmar scored better, with 22. Denmark had the highest score on the index: 91. The US scored 76 and was No. 16 on the list.

Ok Serei Sopheak, head of Transparency International Cambodia, said during the launch of the report Wednesday that more reforms are needed in the country’s public institutions, especially the judicial system.

“Over the past years, Transparency International Cambodia has requested that the Cambodian government undertake key and systematic reforms in key national institutions, by focusing on judicial reforms, the enhancement of laws for access to information, a law on protections for witnesses and whistleblowers, amendments to some articles of the anti-corruption law, and the clearance of nepotism and conflicts of interest in state institutions,” he said. “But so far those tasks have achieved very little and have not been fully implemented.”