According to a provisional draft of the long awaited anti-corruption law obtained Thursday, anybody who refuses to declare his personal assets will be liable to a prison sentence of two to five years once the law is passed.
Government officials found to have taken bribes will face prison sentences of between one month and 15 years, according to the draft, dated May 18.
Judges found to have taken bribes must be punished with between seven and 15 years in jail, and both they and other government officials will have to pay fines equivalent to twice the bribe money they are found to have taken, according to the draft.
Corrupt judges “must be punished in prison between seven and 15 years and pay double their bribery money,” the draft reads. “Corrupt acts are a crime that must receive punishment in accordance with the law.”
Observers cautioned Thursday that the draft, which is over a month old, may already have been changed and may well be altered again before it is officially made public.
“It’s not the final one,” said Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodia Defenders Project, adding that it is currently under consideration by the Ministry of National Assembly and Senate Relations and Inspection.
According to the draft, those refusing to declare their assets will face fines of between $2,500 and $25,000, as well as prison, and will be fired from their public positions.
If property gained through corruption is found kept in another country, the state must take measures to demand that it is returned to Cambodia, based on international cooperation, the draft reads.
Members of the private sector found to be involved in corruption will also face from one month to fifteen years in jail.
A draft will likely be available for official public consultation in August, the NGO Pact Cambodia said. The business community will likely view the draft as a first step toward tackling graft, Tim Smyth, Indochina Research managing director, said Thursday.
But “not a lot of people are going to be dancing in the street,” because it’s still a long way from implementation, he added.
Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said there are already provisional Untac laws that could be used to tackle bribery and the sale of state land.
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith declined comment on Thursday, and Om Yentieng, adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, said he was too busy to comment.