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Corruption Monitor

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                                                                                                         Issue 4 - March 2008
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                                                                                                                                                 N
                                             Monthly review of corruption-related stories in the Cambodian media


                                                            PEOPLE PESSIMISTIC ABOUT CORRUPTION
THIS MONTH
    The Corruption Barometer opin-                              A Transparency International survey       gal system within the past year paid a
ion poll by Transparency Internation-                       reveals that 72 percent of Cambodians         bribe and 62 percent paid a bribe to
al was released in detail this month,                       reported paying a bribe to receive a          police within the same period. Though
sparking much debate about the                              public service within the last year, local    30 percent of those in contact with the
pervasiveness of petty corruption in                        media reported.                               education system paid a bribe, this is
Cambodia. Amongst its findings the                              The survey showed that 61 percent         worrisome because it undermines edu-
poll showed that in particular the judi-                    of Cambodians do not expect corrup-           cational integrity and teaches children
ciary and police are widely suspected                       tion to decrease in the next three years      the wrong messages about corruption
of corruption by most Cambodians.                           and 42 percents of respondents expect         from an early age, VOD reported.
Prime Minister Hun Sen acknowl-                             corruption to rise over that period, VOD          Only 29 percent of respondents view
edged early February during a speech                        broadcast February 20.                        the Cambodian government’s action ei-
that the Cambodian judicial system                              The poor and those in remote areas        ther very or somewhat effective in fight-
is unfair and affects the interests of                      are particularly pessimistic, with 48 per-    ing corruption. The high levels of cor-
the Government and Cambodian na-                            cent of remote respondents and 50 per-        ruption and low expectation of changes
tionals as a whole. This Month’s issue                      cent of those whose monthly household         suggest that existing anti-corruption
again demonstrates the wide ranging,                        income is less than US$100 predicting         mechanisms are ineffective and incon-
and sometimes very ugly side of cor-                        that corruption will rise, VOD added.         sistently enforced, the survey reported.
ruption: a serial rapist that impreg-                           The survey also revealed that Cam-            Interior Ministry Spokesman Khieu
nated a mentally disabled woman was                         bodians view police and judiciary as          Sopheak completely denied that police
exempted from jail after paying a $10                       more corrupt than other government            and judicial institutions are corrupt, but
bribe (summarized story of Koh San-                         and non-government agencies, RFA re-          acknowledged that there are corrupt in-
tepheap on page 3). Customs is this                         ported February 21 and Sralanh Khmer          dividuals in those institutions, Moneak-
month’s highlighted theme (page 2),                         the following day.                            sekar Khmer reported on February 22.
where smuggling is extremely prob-                              Nearly 45 percent of respondents              “I acknowledge that there are corrupt
lematic.                                                    that came into contact with the le-                               Continued on page 3

PM: CAMBODIAN COURT IS UNFAIR                                                       COMFREL ISSUES REPORT ON VERBAL
    Prime Minister Hun Sen                       School marched in protest
                                                                                    ATTACKS AMONG LAWMAKERS
has       acknowledged       that                against the Appeal Court’s            The Committee for Free        Cambodia are like mafia who
Cambodia’s judicial system                       ruling January 24 — which al-      and Fair Elections in Cam-       commit bribery, corruption
is unfair, while NGOs have                       lowed 672 square meters of         bodia (Comfrel) on Febru-        and other illegal activities,
claimed that the government                      the facility’s land to be sold     ary 12 issued a report noting    the report said, according to
is still interfering in the Cam-                 off, according to news ar-         the unprecedented January        Koh Santepheap February
bodian court system, VOD                         chives.                            12 trading of verbal attacks     14.
reported February 4.                                 Adhoc President Thun Sa-       between CPP and SRP law-             In response to the verbal
    Unfair trials are a viola-                   ray welcomed the premier’s         makers during a session of       attack, Finance Minister Keat
tion of the government and                       claim, adding that it is good      the National Assembly, local     Chhon said that SRP lawmak-
can affect the interests of all                  if Cambodia has a law which        media reported.                  ers always raise irrelevant
Cambodians, Hun Sen said                         punishes judges and pros-             The report claimed that,      topics, adding that, if opposi-
February 4 during an inau-                       ecutors who are not fair.          during the National Assem-       tion lawmakers did not enjoy
guration of a high school in                         “This is a problem which       bly’s meeting on draft law on    impunity, they would have
Kampong Speu province’s                          has happened for a long time,      Cambodian-Japanese agree-        been sued for their words,
Oudong district.                                 and we all also recognize the      ment on liberalization, law-     wrote Rasmei Kampuchea.
    The remark was made af-                      issue. The remarks empha-          makers from the opposition           National Assembly Presi-
ter the Appeals Court ruled                      size that even the leader of       party made harsh criticisms of   dent Heng Samrin confirmed
in favor of a businessman                        the government acknowledg-         the government for rampant       that the troublemakers are
whom villagers and teach-                        es that the Cambodian courts       corruption, one speaking say-    SRP lawmakers who repeat-
ers accused of grabbing land                     are unfair. So, the important      ing he considered Cambodia       edly made irrelevant state-
from Hun Sen Ang Snoul High                      thing to do is that all possible   “the most corrupt nation in      ments about forest crime, cor-
School in Kandal province’s                      means must be sought to turn       the world,” reported Rasmei      ruption and prices of gasoline
Ang Snoul district.                              the Cambodian court system         Kampuchea February 14.           to gain political advantages in
    In January, at least 2,300                   into one which can provide            Opposition     lawmakers      the upcoming national elec-
teachers and students from                       justice to our citizens,” Saray    also alleged large inter-        tion, reported National Radio
Hun Sen Ang Snoul High                           added.                             national firms investing in      AM 918 February 13.
No.4 • March 2008                                                                                           Corruption Monitor


CORRUPTION & CUSTOMS                        motorbikes to sell in other provinces or    before trucking it to Phnom Penh, ac-
                                            in Phnom Penh, they must also pay taxes     cording to economic police officials at
    * The customs chief and deputy chief    [money] to customs officials.               the Ministry of Interior, reported Mo-
at the Phnom Preuk border crossing in           Customs officials denied the accu-      neaksekar Khmer February 19.
Battambang province’s Phnom Preuk           sations, advising that impounding mo-           The same source claimed there are
district, have colluded with merchants      torbikes without number plates would        three offices dealing in this business
to smuggle commodities from Thailand        decrease the smuggling.                     - two in Svay Rieng’s Svay Chrum and
into Cambodia, Sralanh Khmer report-            * Villagers in Kampot province’s        Chan Trea districts and the other in Prey
ed anonymous customs officials at the       Prey Tonle commune, located near the        Veng’s Peam Chor district, adding that
crossing as saying February 21.             Vietnamese province of Kieng Yang,          the offices had been protected by a
    Vuthy, customs official at the cross-   have claimed that smugglers are using       high-ranking official at the Customs and
ing, told Sralanh Khmer February 7          new methods to smuggle gasoline from        Excise Department.
that the customs chief and deputy chief     Vietnam into Kampot, Koh Santepheap             The officials said the companies can
colluded with Battambang provincial         reported February 6.                        smuggle from 160,000 to 240,000 liters
authorities and merchants to smuggle            They said that in the dry season mer-   of gasoline to Phnom Penh each night,
commodities including sugar and fake        chants use motorbikes or bicycles to        while customs officials at the border
cigarettes, which resulted in a heavy       smuggle gasoline from Vietnam, while        crossings pretend not to notice, as they
loss of state tax revenue. The accused      some smugglers tie containers full of       accept bribes from these firms.
could not be contacted for comment.         smuggled gasoline to ropes, and drag            * Gasoline sellers on National Road
    * Police officials at the district’s    them into Cambodia along shallow            6A in Siem Reap, who buy gasoline
Boeung Trokoun border crossing in Bat-      canals. In the rainy season merchants       smuggled from Thailand, said that most
tambang said about 50 to 60 motorbikes      smuggle gasoline on boats along the         people involved in selling smuggled
have been smuggled [from Thailand]          commune’s An Sa canal.                      gasoline are police and military offi-
through Mohou Srop border crossing              A smuggler said that 300 to 400         cials in Siem Reap district, Kampuchea
in Romeat commune. The same source          containers could be dragged by a mo-        Thmey reported February 21.
claimed merchants also used O Bei           tor-driven boat along the canal from            They said that gasoline was smug-
Chorn border crossing to operate this       Vietnam into Kampot, with border au-        gled from Thailand through the Anlong
business, Koh Santepheap reported           thorities claiming to have never no-        Veng border crossing and that at least
February 13.                                ticed any misdemeanor. He said the          20 truck-loads’ worth per week was
    Anonymous merchants said that, with-    authorities protected illegal merchants     smuggled into Siem Reap province.
out a green light given by relevant au-     because the perpetrators bribed them            Another source claimed that mer-
thorities, they would not have managed      from 150,000 to 200,000 riel [about         chants need to pay 500,000 riel [about
to smuggle motorbikes to the province,      US$40 to 50] per boat.                      US$120] in exchange for the green light
adding that they were obliged to give           * At least two gasoline companies       from customs officials.
about 180,000 riel [approximately US$45]    in Cambodia have opened offices to
per motorbike to customs officials.         buy gasoline smuggled on motorbikes         CORRECTION:               In the Decem-
                                                                                        ber 2008 edition of this publication, the
    The merchants also claimed that,        from Vietnam through border crossings
                                                                                        story “Alleged Corruption Blights Rural
if they want to transport the smuggled      in Svay Rieng and Prey Veng provinces
                                                                                        Project,” summarized a story in Rasmei
                                                                                        Kampuchea of December 6, 2007, in
GOV’T URGED TO PASS ANTI-CORRUPTION LAW                                                 which anonymous officials involved with
                                                                                        German-aid constructed Tertiary Roads
    Villagers in Kampong Cham prov-         proval of the anti-corruption law so that   Improvement Program (TRIP-IV) claimed
ince suggested February 9 that the          our people can escape from poverty,”        the project was riddled with corruption.
Cambodian government intensify ef-          said Phon Thoun, who lives in Ponhea        Rasmei Kampuchea published two
forts to pass the long-awaited anti-cor-    Krak district.                              days later a follow-up story in which the
ruption law, with some warning that             Bun Rithy, executive director of the    TRIP IV-project manager of the Ministry
they could lose confidence in the gov-      Democracy Resource Center for Na-           of Rural Development strongly denied
ernment should the bill not be passed       tional Development, said that after gain-   the anonymous accusations, stating that
soon, VOD reported February 9.              ing permission from Kampong Cham            the 10 million dollar-project is closely
    The request came after residents        Provincial Governor Hun Neng, the           monitored by the German aid agency
in the villages of Kandal and Chrouy        campaign would be launched with the         and that the project’s database is secure
added their thumbprints to the “Mil-        cooperation of 346 teachers from 173        enough to prevent all attempts at cor-
lion Signature Campaign,” a nationwide      communes in the province’s 16 districts.    ruption. Corruption Monitor regrets that
petition in support of the bill organized   He also claimed that the campaign           the December 6 story was summarized
by the Democracy Resource Center for        plans to collect 270,000 signatures from    without including a reference to the fol-
National Development.                       1,800,000 people in the province.           low-up story of December 8.
    Chon Siem, a Thbong Khmom villag-       The Corruption Monitor is part of a year-   This review gives an overview of sam-
er, said that her thumbprint and others’    long survey commissioned by USAID/          ples found. Corruption-related stories
would put pressure on the government        PACT Cambodia. During this survey the       brought by other media are included if
                                            following newspapers and radio news         found relevant.
to swiftly pass the law. She added that     programs are monitored on corruption-       Articles are quoted and translated as is,
corruption is the main motive behind in-    related stories:                            without any warranty as to the accuracy
justice and is widening the gap between     Rasmei Kampuchea, Koh Santepheap,           of the information reproduced.
                                            Kampuchea        Thmey, Moneaksekar         The Corruption Monitor does not nec-
the rich and poor in the Kingdom.           Khmer, Sralanh Khmer and news broad-        essarily reflect the views and opinion of
    “We can see that there is a big gap     casts of National Radio Kampuchea AM        USAID/PACT Cambodia.
between the rich and the poor now. So,      918, FM 102 (Women Media Centre),           For questions/comments:
                                            Voice of Democracy (VOD on FM 105)
the government should hasten the ap-        and Radio Free Asia (RFA on FM 105).                     mmt@mcdcambodia.com

2
Corruption Monitor                                                                                                No.4 • March 2008

                                                                                                 “We are concerned when a draft law
ACCESS TO INFORMATION DISCUSSED                                                              reaches the Council of Ministers and Na-
                                                                                             tional Assembly, some significant points
    The Cambodian National Assembly            damental element of good governance           will be extracted like happened with
organized a workshop February 22 to            and a characteristic of a modern and          the media law in 1994. The government
create awareness for the need of a policy      strong democracy, Rasmei Kampu-               should not follow the previous example,”
paper on access to information before          chea wrote. Furthermore, the rights can       he said, Koh Santepheap added.
a draft law on freedom of information          help attract investors to Cambodia and            Adhoc Director Thun Saray said that
is submitted to the National Assembly,         eliminate complicated issues caused by        the media plays a very significant role in
newspapers reported February 23.               corruption, she added.                        a democratic society and that the rights
    The discussion was attended by                 Moun Chien Narith, a staffmember          to access information promote freedom
USAID, the World Bank (WB), the Brit-          from Internews, said that a draft law is      of expression, Rasmei Kampuchea re-
ish Embassy, senate members and local          good as it has international standards.       ported.
NGOs, Koh Santepheap reported.                 However, he is concerned that some                Saray added that the right to receive
    USAID Cambodia Mission Direc-              important points in a draft law would         information can contribute to fighting
tor Erin Soto stated that if approved a        be removed when it is submitted to the        corruption and it is the light that shines
draft law can benefit Cambodia, adding         National Assembly and Council of Min-         in all dark places, which can frighten
rights to access information are a fun-        isters, according to Koh Santepheap.          wrongdoers.

VICTIMS PUT CURSE ON RICH LAND GRABBERS                                                      ground, praying that if the leaves should
                                                                                             disintegrate or fall from their branches,
    Approximately 200 land-grabbing                The company is owned by Mrs. Chea         so will the KDC president’s rank. As for
victims residing in Kampong Chhnang            Kheng, who had the support of armed           the sand which we carried on our heads:
province’s Kampong Tralach district            policemen and commune officials to            we pray that, if the KDC president or
gathered February 17 to take part in a         remove villagers from their land. As          any KDC representatives have colluded
spiritual ceremony invoking idols, dei-        acknowledged by the courts, the firm          with the authorities to grab our land,
ties and divinities to put curses on the       had used fake thumbprints to claim the        they will carry our land on their heads
rich and powerful who have grabbed             villagers had sold their land to Chea         adversely when they die…,” said the
their land. They decided to choose this        Kheng, according to news archives.            representative.
way instead of seeking legal action af-            Sgoun Ghean, who claimed to be a              Provincial authorities and KDC could
ter losing confidence in local authori-        representative of the victims, told VOD       not be contacted for comment on the
ties’ ineffective resolutions.                 that the victimized villagers wrapped         villagers’ accusations and curses.
    The ceremony was arranged after            up sand and walked around the village             Lor Peang Village Chief Toch Ly,
residents in Lor Peang village had near-       carrying it on their heads. They then         who also attended the ritual, said it is
ly 200 hectares of land grabbed from           placed it in front of a holy statue to pray   right that the victims, who have never
them since 2006 by a private company           for happiness, prosperity, justice, to pre-   been given suitable solutions or jus-
named KDC, with provincial authorities         vent people’s land from being grabbed,        tice, should be entitled to express their
and the courts not only failing to provide     and to curse anyone who confiscated           anger and misery caused by the land-
any justice to the residents, but also jail-   their land with complete destruction.         grabbing.
ing two of them who had protested.                 “We villagers put leaves on the                            VOD, February 17, 2008

MENTALLY-ILL WOMAN RAPED FOUR TIMES                                                              After running away for a while, Ren
                                                                                             came back to the village six months
    A mentally-ill woman residing in           who is now six years old. Meanwhile           ago and raped Kroy again, leaving
Kampot province’s Sdech Kong village           Mey himself died.                             her pregnant once again. Anonymous
has been raped four times by two irre-             Kroy was raped for the third time by      sources claimed that the victim’s rela-
sponsible men who lived in the same            another man named Khem Ren, leading           tives lodged their complaint to the vil-
village, leaving her with three children       her to give birth to a second son who is      lage authorities three months ago, but
and pregnant of a fourth.                      now three years old.                          the perpetrator managed to flee again.
    Kroy, 28, was raped for the first time         After that rape, family of the victim         Sdech Kong Village authorities said
ten years ago by a man identified as           also filed a complaint to the local au-       that they did not have any grounds for
Acha Mey. After the rape, Kroy became          thorities, but the criminal was set free      charges because the perpetrator just
pregnant and gave birth to a son named         after paying 50,000 riel [about US$ 12]       coaxed the victim into having sex with
Sin Phong, who later was kicked to death       to the poor woman to support his unfor-       him.
by his mother when he was only two-            tunate son.                                       Khem Toun, father of the mentally-
years old. At that time, the perpetrator           With intervention from the Human          ill woman, said that he really wants to
was sentenced to two years in prison.          Rights NGO Licadho in Kampot, the per-        see justice for his unfortunate daughter,
    After spending two years in jail, Mey      petrator was summoned by the provin-          suggesting that Ren should have been
returned to the village and raped her          cial court for questioning, but later the     put on trial.
for the second time, making her preg-          case was closed without any public an-            Koh Santepheap, February 20, 2008
nant with a daughter named Sin Krorn,          nouncement.

Continued from page 1                          cording to Moneaksekar Khmer.                 designed only to help opposition par-
individuals in police and judicial institu-       Om Yentieng, Prime Minister Hun’s          ties in Cambodia. “If you [NGOs] want
tions, and we have punished those cor-         Advisor and head of Anti-corruption           to help opposition parties, please help
rupt officials with both administrative and    Unit, called the release of the survey        [them] directly”, Yentieng said, report-
legal measures,” the spokesman said, ac-       politically motivated and that it was         ed Moneaksekar Khmer.

                                                                                                                                     3
No.4 • March 2008                                                                                                    Corruption Monitor


UPDATE SURVEY ON CORRUPTION-RELATED STORIES                              TRmg;fμIénkarsÞg;mtisþIBIGtßbTEdlTak;TgnwgGMeBIBukrlYy
                                                                                                            347
         600                                                                     350
                                  522
         500                                                                     300
                                        454
                                                                                 250                                238
         400
                            288               299                                200
         300
                      239                                                        150
         200
                                                                                 100
         100                                                                                          43
                                                                                  50           19
            0                                                                      0
                  Corruption-related stories per                                       Corruption-related stories per Radio
                 Newspaper Nov 2007 - Feb 2008                                         News Program Nov 2007 - Feb 2008

                       Koh Santepheap                                                               AM 918
                       Rasmei Kampuchea                                                             FM 102
                       Kampuchea Thmey
                       Moneaksekar Khmer                                                            VOD on FM 105
                       Sralanh Khmer                                                                RFA on FM 105

                                           Phnom Penh                                                             Corruption
          Locations of Stories                                                Top 10 Keywords
                                           Battambang                                                             Collusion
                       12%                                                             11%                        Land Grabbing
                 6%           2%           Kampong Cham                         3%
            7%                                                                                                    Bribery
                               2%          Southeast                                                25%
                                                                              3%
                                                                                                                  Forest Crime
                                           Southwest                        4%
                                  7%                                                                              Transparency
                                           Northeast                       5%
                               6%                                                                                 Extortion
      35%                                  Northwest                        6%
                                                                                                                  Anti-corruption
                             10%           Cambodia                                                  15%
                                                                             6%                                   Fraud
                       13%                 Region                                7%                               Tax Evasion
                                                                                             15%
                                           International                                                          Other (10 Keywords)




        Between November 2007 and October 2008                  cenøaHBIEx vicäika qñaM 2007 nigEx tula qñaM 2008 RKb;erOgTaMgGs;Edl
    all stories of five main Cambodian newspapers
    and four main radio news broadcasts are daily            RbmUl)anBIkaEstCaPasaExμrcMnYn 5 nigviTüúcMnYn 4 sMxan;² RutUv)anRtYtBinitü
    monitored on twenty keywords related to cor-             CaRbcaMéf¶elIBaküsMxan;cMnYn 20 EdlTak;TgnwgGMeBIBukrlYy. karsÞg;enH
    ruption. The survey assesses all stories on both
    quantitative and qualitative parameters. Above                                                                            ’ I
                                                             vaytémøelIerOgTaMgGs;TaMgKuNPaB nigbrimaN. xagelIenH CaB½tmanfμTI 4
    the fourth update with quantitative findings for
    November 1 – February 29.
                                                             CamYynwglT§plénbrimaNerOgBIExvicäika éf¶TI01 dl;ExkumÖ³ éf¶TI29.
         Compared with the first three months Febru-
    ary saw a significant drop in the average num-              ebIeRbobeFobnwgbIExdMbUgenAExkumÖ³enH eKeXIjmankarFøak;cuHya:gxøaMg
    ber of stories found in newspapers. This is not so
    much due to the fact that February has less days
                                                                   Y                             ú
                                                             én cMnnerOgCamFümEdlrkeXIjenAkñgkaEst. bBaðaenHminEmnmkBIExkum³Ö
    (29 this year), but because of Chinese New Year.         manEt 29éf¶enaHeT b:uEnþedaysaréf¶buNücUlqñaMcin EdlminEmnCaéf¶buNü
    It is not an official public holiday, but three of the
    five newspapers skipped three, four or even sev-         CatieT b:uEnþkaEstcMnUn 3 kñúgcMeNamkaEstcMnYn 5 enaHmin)ane)aHBum<pSay
    en days publications around this period. All radio
    newscasts continued their programs during Chi-
                                                             ry³eBlbIbYn rhUtdl;R)aMBIréf¶. viTüúbnþkarpSaykmμvIFIrbs;xøÜntamFmμta
    nese New Year as usual.                                  enAéf¶buNücUlqñaMcin.
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