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TI report suggests most Cambodians believe gov’t corruption down but exists

Ry Sochan / Khmer Times Share:
TI Cambodia and journalists hold an online press conference by Zoom on the publication of the “Global Corruption Measures Report 2020”. KT/Pann Rachana

Transparency International yesterday released a report “Global Corruption Barometer – Asia” which found that most Cambodians believe corruption still exists but has declined in the country.

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“The results indicate that bribery remains prevalent within certain key public services of the country,” TI Cambodia said in a statement yesterday.

It said the GCB is one of the largest, most detailed surveys of citizens’ views on corruption and experiences of bribery in 17 countries across the region.

The GCB surveyed nearly 20,000 people in Asia from March 2019 until September 2020. In Cambodia, the survey was conducted via telephone interviews of 1,000 people between June and July.

“The results of this GCB 2020 show the improvement of public perception toward corruption in comparison with the previous report, released in 2016,” it said.

In the 2016 GCB, only 28 percent of respondents thought that the level of corruption in Cambodia had decreased while 66 percent believed it either remained the same or had increased.

In the 2020 GCB, on the other hand, 55 percent of respondents perceived the level of corruption to have declined while the other 41 percent believed it remained unchanged or had risen.

“Although public perceptions toward corruption in Cambodia have improved, the results of the survey demonstrate that the judiciary, the police and government officials continue to be viewed as the most corrupt institutions or groups,” it said.

“For example, 89 percent of the respondents believe corruption exists among police officials, followed by government officials 72 percent and the judiciary 72 percent,” said the statement.

As far as experiences of corruption are concerned, the results show that bribery continues to be widespread within some public services, it said.

37 percent of respondents who had used public services in the past 12 months said they had paid a bribe to access the services, it added. Of those who said they had paid a bribe, 40 percent said they had paid a bribe to get documents or ID cards and 38 percent said they had bribed the police.

From the public involvement standpoint, 68 percent of those interviewed believed ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption, said the statement. The results of the survey suggest that significant barriers exist that prevent and discourage people from participating in such activities.

“For instance, only 2.5 percent of those who paid bribes to access public services said they had reported corruption,” it said. “Only 38 percent of respondents believed that citizens could provide information about corruption without fear, while 57 percent said they were afraid of possible retaliation.”

TI Cambodia called for the government to speed up its efforts to eliminate all forms of corruption in the public sector and to empower and enhance citizen participation in the fight against corruption.

TI Cambodia executive director Pech Pisey said during an online press conference yesterday that corruption continues to undermine all sectors and is considered an agent to facilitate irregularities in all sectors such as crimes, public services, investment and trade.

“It is the barrier in enforcing the law and preventing our people from obtaining justice. When the corruption is widespread, it affects all sectors,” he said.

Ministry of Justice secretary of state and spokesman Chin Malin and government spokesman Phay Siphan could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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