Corruption Law May Be Reviewed by August

The Ministry of National As­sembly-Senate Relations and In­spection official charged with overseeing the review of the long-de­layed Anti-Corruption Law said Thursday that he believes it will be submitted to the Council of Min­isters by late July or August.

Though Minister of In­spec­tion Men Sam An said Tues­day that the law would not be submitted until 2006, Secretary of State Leng Peng Long said that timeline was established in case there were problems with the review.

“But everyone working on the law is pushing to get it done faster,” Leng Peng Long said.

The US-funded NGO Pact Cam­bodia is coordinating the review of the anti-corruption draft law, the group said Thursday.

“Each draft produced over the past 10 years has been below international standards,” Pact Country Representative Kurt MacLeod wrote in a statement.

“It is expected that the draft will be ready for public consultation in July this year, and be submitted to the Council of Ministers by the end of July,” he said.

To meet international standards the law must establish an independent body with the power to search, seize and arrest corrupt officials, Pact’s statement said.

The body must have an aut­o­n­omous budget and not be influenced by political parties, according to Pact.

For the past two weeks two representatives from civil society groups, Heav Veasna of the Center for Social Development and Cam­bodian Defenders Project Director Sok Sam Oeun have been offering their advice on the law.

Asked whether further delays to the 10-year drafting of the law is hurting Cambodia, Sok Sam Oeun said he didn’t think so. He said that it is better to have an effective law rather than one that was rushed.

Sok Sam Oeun said that he believes the ministry is serious about reviewing the law but that some in the ministry are “afraid to be given this power.”

CSD President Chea Vannath said this week that NGO input into the new law is important to ensure it does not exempt the powerful.

“This legal net is aimed to catch big animals,” he said. “The purpose of the Anti-Corruption law is not to catch the $30 embezzler.”

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