Customs Staff Gets Training

A Japanese team visited this past week to assess ways to strengthen Cambodia’s embattled customs department, according to officials.

Kun Nhem, deputy director of the customs department, said Tuesday that the team from Japan’s customs bureau was here for five days to follow up on a training program in Japan for customs staff from Asean countries.

But the mission also further evaluated Cambodian customs administration in order to identify technical assistance needs for customs administration reform, Kun Nhem said. Possible projects include information ex­changes on management, further human resource training and providing technical experts to Cambodia, Kun Nhem said.

According to the Japanese Embassy, support for Cambo­dian customs is part of Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi’s Asean assistance plan. The team, which left Cambodia on Tuesday, also is visiting Vietnam, Burma and Laos, officials said.

The customs department was singled out by Prime Minister Hun Sen late last year for its notorious corruption.

He said at that time that many corrupt officials demand bribes at every stage of business operation and widespread smuggling has hampered Cambodia’s economic growth.

Following the premier’s accusation, Finance Minister Keat Chhon last month transferred several customs officials from Sihanoukville and Kompong Cham to Phnom Penh because of their alleged negligent work.



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