Government officials, parliamentarians, members of the judiciary, NGO chiefs and other selected officials will be required to declare their personal assets and debts between Jan 1 and Jan 31 next year, Anticorruption Unit chief Om Yentieng said yesterday.
Speaking to about 400 Phnom Penh municipal officials, police and military police at City Hall yesterday, Mr Yentieng confirmed previous estimates that more than 100,000 officials would be required to declare their personal financial information as part of their obligations under the Anticorruption Law.
The law, which was promulgated earlier this year, requires that public officials provide the ACU with two paper documents in sealed envelopes, detailing their assets and debts every two years.
“The assets which we declare are personal property…. If we have two cars [and] they belong to my wife, I do not declare it,” Mr Yentieng said. “The special point of declaring assets is to declare personal properties which contain our names.”
According to the law, only Mr Yentieng will have the power to decide when to open the envelopes provided by public officials, and only during the course of an investigation.
SRP lawmaker Son Chhay reiterated the opposition’s position on the asset and debt declarations yesterday, saying the declarations should be made public and that officials’ family members should also be required to declare their wealth.
“[These declarations] are to suppress any officials who are not allied to their [ruling CPP] party,” Mr Chhay said. “It is useless, because we should know where their spouses and children earn money.”
Mr Yentieng, however, said yesterday that declaring assets publicly could create security concerns for officials, as robbers would be made aware of possible targets.
He also said yesterday that the National Council for Anticorruption, the body that oversees the ACU’s activities, was drafting a sub-decree to create an anticorruption security department entrusted with making arrests.
Speaking at yesterday’s meeting at City Hall, Phnom Penh governor Kep Chuktema urged his officials to declare their assets, saying that city officials should refrain from being involved in corrupt activities.
“Please read the laws and be ready to take part [by declaring your assets],” Mr Chuktema said. “Now we have to make ourselves clean.”