The final makeup of the newly created National Council for Anticorruption will be announced publicly when its members meet for the first time today to elect a chairman and vice-chairman, a government official said yesterday.
Tith Sothea, spokesman for the Council of Ministers’ Quick Reaction Unit, said yesterday that the anticorruption council would hold its inaugural meeting this morning.
“[On Tuesday], there will be the first historical meeting of the anticorruption body at the Council of Ministers, where there will be an election to choose the chairman and vice-chairman,” Mr Sothea said, adding there would be a press conference at the end of the meeting to announce the members of the council.
Only three of the anticorruption council’s 11 members have been publicly named to date: former Council of Ministers anticorruption unit chief Om Yentieng and former members of the Constitutional Council Top Sam and Prak Sok, who were elected by the National Assembly and Senate last week. Mr Yentieng, who automatically became a member of the council when he was appointed as chair of the Anticorruption Unit last month, confirmed yesterday that all 11 members of the council had been chosen.
“We already have the 11 members [of the council],” Mr Yentieng said. He added that an official announcement would be made “soon,” but he declined to name the council members.
Under the Anticorruption Law, promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni in March, the 11 members of the anticorruption council are chosen by the Assembly, the Senate, the King, the government, the National Audit Authority, the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection, the Supreme Council of Magistracy and the government’s human rights committee.
The law states that the council will, among other tasks, oversee the operation of the investigative Anticorruption Unit and be responsible for reporting to Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the free legal aid group the Cambodian Defenders Project, said yesterday that he could not yet say how effective the new council would be at fighting corruption. He also noted that the members of the council were familiar faces.
“It is just the same car with the same driver, but painted with more beautiful colors,” Mr Sam Oeun said of the council.
Thun Saray, president of local human rights group Adhoc, said that civil society organizations do not have confidence in the new Anticorruption Institution, which comprises both the anticorruption council and unit.
“I think this institution is not independent and, as we have said, it is made up of political appointees,” Mr Saray said, adding that civil society groups would closely monitor the institution’s actions.