Wednesday, 19 January 2011 20:19 Vong Sokheng
Defence Minister Tea Banh has announced that high-ranking officials in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces will be required to submit asset declarations to the government’s Anticorruption Unit next month.
“We can’t now say how many members of the RCAF will be required to make an asset declaration, but individual military officials who were appointed by royal decree and subdecree will be required to declare their assets,” Tea Banh said at an annual military review at the Royal Cambodian Navy headquarters on Tuesday.
Under new anticorruption legislation passed in March, senior officials will be required to declare their personal assets by February 28, part of a bid to fight endemic levels of graft.
Nhem Ponharith, spokesman for the Human Rights Party, said that unofficial estimates indicate there are about 1,000 high-ranking officials in the RCAF.
“We have never received an official number of appointed generals in the Ministry of Defence,” he said.
A senior military official, who declined to be named, also put the number of colonels and generals at about 1,000.
Sar Sambath, a permanent member of the ACU, said today that the unit had increased the estimated number of senior government officials required to submit asset declarations from 100,000 to about 150,000.
“Our proceedings of asset declarations are going smoothly and our teams are working hard to ensure that the asset declaration package is managed safely and properly,” he said.
“The ACU continues to conduct workshops with government ministries about the anticorruption law.”
On Tuesday, Tea Banh also appealed to senior RCAF officials to abstain from illegal activities such as human and drug trafficking.
“The RCAF has to get away from corruption,” he said.
The comments were made after the arrests last week of Moek Dara, the former secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, and Chea Leng, former chief of the anti-drug office at the Ministry of Interior.
The pair were implicated by former Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Hun Hean and his deputy, Chheang Sun, who were arrested earlier last week.