CPP-Supported Candidates Chosen for Anti-Graft Council

With the overwhelming support of their fellow CPP members, two former members of the Constitutional Council were yesterday elected as the National Assembly and Senate’s representatives on the new National Council for Anticorruption.

Top Sam and Prak Sok were chosen as the second and third publicly announced members of the council, which is tasked with overseeing the work of the investigative Anticorruption Unit.

Former chief of the now defunct Council of Ministers anticorruption unit, Om Yentieng, automatically became the first member of the council last month when he was selected as the chairman of the new Anticorruption Unit.

National Assembly President Heng Samrin announced yesterday that Mr Sam received 83 votes from the 106 members present. The other five men who had applied for the position failed to receive a vote, with SRP members choosing not to vote for anyone.

SRP Secretary-General Ke Sovannroth said later by telephone that her party could not support the vote or the new anti-corruption body.

“We think that it will not be successful” in the fight against corruption, she said.

At the Senate yesterday, Mr Sok was elected with the support of 45 of the 53 senators present, according to Senate First Vice President Prince Sisowath Chivan Monirak. After the vote, Mr Sok said he was pleased to be chosen for the position and added that he would need time to review the recently promulgated Anticorruption Law.

“I am just waiting to check the anticorruption law so we can set a plan for the future,” Mr Sok said by telephone.

Mr Sok, like Mr Sam, is a member of the ruling CPP.

Mr Sok defended his political affiliation saying there was no law preventing a member of a political party from holding a seat on the anticorruption council.

“There is no law to prohibit this,” he said.

Under the Anticorruption Law, promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni in March, the remaining eight members of the council will be selected by 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 Cambodian Human Rights Committee.

Yeng Virak, executive director for the Community Legal Education Center, said yesterday that the council lacked true independence as it was still under the supervision of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“The [anticorruption] law and institution alone do not ensure that corruption issues are solved,” Mr Virak said.


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