Nearly three weeks after releasing an official price list for basic public services such as the production of passports and ID cards aimed at combating corruption, Interior Ministry officials Monday admitted that the new prices were not yet being applied.
The lengthy new list, which was approved by Interior Minister Sar Kheng and Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth on March 18, codifies the prices of all basic services provided by the Interior Ministry. Public servants were instructed not to deviate from the established prices beginning April 1.
Yet three weeks after the self-imposed deadline, Interior Ministry officials said Monday that additional procedures needed to be put in place and instructions handed down before the price list edict could be implemented.
“We are ready to implement it, but we need to have a procedure to implement it,” said Mao Chandara, director general of the Interior Ministry’s general department of identification.
“That’s why our logistics department…will organize a meeting on April 23 at the ministry regarding the implementation, like when we will start to implement it and what new documents we need to prepare.”
Ke Savath, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s passport department, said his department would not be able to take any action until it received additional instructions from higher-ranking officials.
“We have not implemented the proclamation yet because we have not seen or received any instructions to implement it from our superiors,” he said.
Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay said he believed the delay had more to do with corruption within the ministry than with a lack of proper instructions.
“There are corrupt people involved…. It’s not easy for them to get out of that habit of getting money before service provided or taking bribes before the service provided,” Mr. Chhay said.
“The solution is to remove the old officials who are involved with this process and put the ones who are more capable, are more responsible, to replace them.”
(Additional reporting by Anthony Jensen)