Anticorruption Institution Statue Remains Shrouded in Mystery

Mystery surrounds a covered statue placed inside the entrance of the new Anticorruption Institution in Phnom Penh, with anti-corruption unit officials saying they are not aware of either the statue or whom it represents.

Opposition officials, however, said that the Anticorruption Institution should immediately reveal the identity of the person represented by the statue, which is wrapped in red cloth.

On Tuesday, a security guard at the gate of the institution on Norodom Boulevard- formerly the RCAF high command headquarters- said the roughly 5-meter-high statue was a likeness of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Several members of the new Anticorruption Council, who met for the first time at the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, said yesterday that they were not aware that a statue had been installed at the entrance to their new offices.

Anticorruption Council chairman Top Sam and vice-chairman Prak Sok both said they had not yet been to the offices and didn’t know about the statue.

Council member Keo Remy also said he knew nothing of the statue, but added he would probably know more today after the council was officially sworn into office at the Royal Palace.

Om Yentieng, Anticorruption Unit chairman and member of the council, said on Tuesday that he was not aware of the statue and declined to answer questions yesterday about the covered figure, saying he was too busy.

“If they put [a statue] in a public place like this, then they must announce to the public,” said Kem Sokha, Human Rights Party president. “Why should they keep it mysterious like this?” he asked.

Yim Sovann, SRP lawmaker and spokesman, said that a statue of Mr Hun Sen was not appropriate at the offices of the graft-fighting body.

“Mr Hun Sen has been in power since 1993 and could not fight against corruption [in that time],” Mr Sovann said.

“The government is always doing things secretly-they never let the public know,” he added.


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