The Interior Ministry has warned top officials they could be sacked or face legal action if they abuse their positions to further personal interests.
Khieu Sopheak, chief of the Interior Minister’s cabinet, said officials who fail to fulfil their professional duties damage the management of the ministry and must not be allowed to get away with it.
He said the majority of civil servants carry out their roles responsibly, with a focus on developing services for the public.
“However, we have had to dismiss or send to court some officials who used their roles to earn money as consultants and even protected the illegal wood trade,” he said.
“There are only a few of them in every 100 people, but we don’t want them to damage the reputation of everyone else.”
Mr Sopheak on Monday issued a letter to advisers and assistants working for Interior Minister Sar Kheng, warning of legal and disciplinary action against anyone who commits illegal acts affecting the honour of the ministry’s leaders.
“This is an urgent request to stop those actions,” the letter said.
“The cabinet will apply administrative penalties if not, or in serious cases, will ask Interior Minister Sar Kheng to terminate the employee’s position or file a court complaint in accordance with the law.”
People’s Centre for Development and Peace president Yong Kim Eng supported the cabinet’s actions, saying the crackdown could help stop bribery and corruption.
“This could improve administration procedures and make the relationship between the people and the state more equitable, eliminating discrimination and nepotism in obtaining services from the Ministry of Interior,” he said.
However, he called on Mr Kheng and his cabinet to follow through on the warning with concrete measures against any staff who failed in their duties.
According to cabinet officials, Mr Kheng currently has more than 100 advisers and assistants, who are mostly volunteers, but hold other paid roles in state institutions.