ACU Holds Meeting, Discusses Agreement With Coca-Cola

Officials from the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and the National Council for Anti-Corruption held a closed-door meeting at the ACU on Wednesday to discuss a number of claims of corruption made this month, as well as an upcoming agreement with the Coca-Cola Company, according to a statement.

Om Yentieng, the ACU’s chairman, called the meeting to discuss the various claims with Top Sam, chairman of the National Council for Anti-Corruption, which is tasked with preparing annual reports on corruption for the government, the ACU statement says.

The statement notes that a damning report from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria released on November 15 was discussed, but does not provide further details.

The Global Fund report implicates senior officials in malaria, STD and HIV/AIDS-focused institutions under the Ministry of Health, as well as Medicam, an umbrella network of health NGOs, in a network of bribery, overcharging and misappropriation of grants.

The statement says a case of document forging by the director of a district social affairs department, who was arrested on November 15, and cases in five other provinces were also tabled.

According to the statement, besides noting recently reported cases of corruption Mr. Yentieng also called for closer monitoring of the use of “ghost officials” who take government salaries.

The ACU will now also seek greater cooperation with the private sector to stamp out corruption in Cambodia, starting with an agreement to be signed with the Coca-Cola Company.

Lim Lina, public affairs manager for the Cambodian Beverage Company, Coca-Cola’s brand in Cambodia, said she could not unveil any details about the soda giant’s agreement with the corruption watchdog until next month.

“The Coca-Cola Company will sign the MoU [memorandum of understanding] with the Anti-Corruption Unit on December 9, 2013,” Ms. Lina explained, adding only that the beverage firm was committed to stamping out corruption in the country.

“I think it is a good thing that the Coca-Cola will sign the MoU with the Anti-Corruption Unit to clear corruption in Cambodia,” she said. “I hope other companies will now sign an MoU like the Coca-Cola company.”

Mr. Yentieng declined to comment on Wednesday’s meeting, including the Coca-Cola deal.

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