Saturday, 23 February 2008

Cambodian public sector corruption endemic, says report
Fri, 22 Feb 2008
Author : DPA

Phnom Penh - Nearly three quarters of Cambodians reported paying a bribe to receive a public service in the past year, and more than half were pessimistic that endemic corruption would lessen in the near future, according to a survey received Friday. The survey of 1,016 Cambodians conducted in September as part of a study by Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) claimed that 72 per cent of participants who reported paying bribes was "by far the highest percentage in the Asia-Pacific region and second to only Cameroon internationally."

Cameroon citizens reported 79 per cent of respondents had paid bribes for a public service, the report said.

The survey also found that 61 per cent of Cambodians do not expect corruption to decrease in the next three years and 42 per cent of respondents expect corruption to increase over that period.

The poor and those living in remote areas are particularly pessimistic, according a statement on the TI survey results released by the locally-based Coalition of Civil Society Organizations Against Corruption (CCSOAC).

"The judiciary and the police were viewed as the most corrupt institutions by all income groups," the group said, but that 30 per cent had also reported paying bribes to educators.

"This is worrisome because it undermines educational integrity and teaches children the wrong messages about corruption from an early age," the group said in the statement.

Donors have pressured the government to implement anti-corruption laws, but the government has said it can only do so after other amendments such as a drastic overhaul of the nation's penal code.

CCSOAC said the TI survey showed only 29 per cent of respondents view the Cambodian government's actions as either very or somewhat effective in fighting corruption.

CCSOAC claims more than 40 member organizations nationwide.

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