Gov’t Has Plan To Tackle Corruption With Complaint PO Box

A large white metal box soliciting complaints and tips about corruption in Cambodia has been fixed to the front wall of the Council of Ministers’ temporary home near the Royal Palace.

A police officer guarding the building, which was previously the National Assembly, said Tuesday that employees of the Council of Ministers installed the “PO Box of Complaints” on Monday.

The box replaces a similar complaints box, which was located at the old Council of Ministers building on Russian Boulevard, and which was demolished earlier this year, Senior Minister Om Yen­tieng, chief of government’s Anti-Corruption Unit, said Tuesday.

“The box of complaints is a symbol for the public,” Om Yentieng said. “They can send complaints to us by mail to our office or [hand]-deliver their complaints to the box,” he said.

Om Yentieng said he did not know the total number of corruption complaints that the box at the old Council of Minister’s building received during its two years of existence.

All complaints, he added, are taken seriously.

Human rights groups expressed guarded optimism about the new box.

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodia Center for Human Rights, questioned whether anyone would feel safe delivering a complaining so openly when retaliation against whistleblowers is common in Cambodia.

“I welcome the white box, but we wish the Council of Ministers’ would set up a white box in every province,” he said.

Kek Galabru, president of the rights group Licadho, said that in the past that the Council’s anti-corruption unit has not publicly released information about the complaints it received or how it dealt with them.

“If the idea is to just look good, [to] look like they are leaders who listen to the people…it’s not good,” she said.

“It’s a good idea if they agree to look at the complaints and then investigate.”

Cambodia does not yet have an anti-corruption law despite drafts of such legislation having been first submitted to the National As­sembly in October 1994.

(Additional reporting by Tim Sturrock)


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