Opposition Supports Bank’s Anti-Graft Stance

Though their party was not in­vited to last week’s World Bank-sponsored conference on the fu­ture of the Cambodian economy or to meet with World Bank Pres­ident James Wolfensohn, Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians said Monday that they endorsed the Bank’s stance on corruption and welcomed proposals of aid to help fight it.

“I am not upset we didn’t meet with the World Bank,” opposition party lawmaker Keo Remy said Monday.

“We know what they have said about corruption and we support them,” he added.

On Friday, Wolfensohn said that while he normally goes to the parliament when visiting a country, he did not meet with the opposition party because of a lack of time.

“I met with people close to the opposition,” he said.

At the conference, the government unveiled an agenda that fo­cuses on streamlining customs procedures to eliminate bribe-taking.

But Keo Remy said that anti-corruption reform will only work if the judiciary is reformed first.

“If someone knows that he will never be punished for taking bribes, then he will continue doing it. Who will punish the officials now without independent judges?” he asked.

Keo Remy also said that focusing anti-corruption efforts on low-level civil servants was unfair.

“Sometimes they take the mo­ney from the corruption to feed the party,” he added.

Opposition parliamentarian Yim Sovann stressed Monday that procedures were necessary to prevent the sale of state assets without a proper bidding process.

A World Bank-backed law on concessions is a start in stemming the disposal of state property, but Yim Sovann said he worried that the law would not be implemented.

 

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