The chairman of the Anti-Corruption Unit gave a press conference yesterday in which he claimed that corruption was present in every country, and was worse in the United States than in Cambodia.
“Corruption is everywhere. It is worse in the US than in Cambodia,” ACU chairman Om Yentieng said. “I have met American prosecutors who said the situation in Cambodia is very good.
“If Cambodian law on declaration of property was applied in the United States, all lawmakers would be sentenced to jail,” he added.
David Josar, deputy spokesman at the US embassy in Phnom Penh, refused to comment.
Preap Koul, executive director of Transparency International in Cambodia, said there was no evidence that corruption in the US was worse than in Cambodia.
“The existing evidence actually shows the opposite,” he said.
Mr Yentieng said that TI’s corruption ranking is not an international reference, and that there was no specific definition of corruption.
Mr Koul said the Corruption Perception Index was not produced by TI Cambodia, but by the international branch of the organisation.
CPI ranks countries based on how public sector corruption is perceived by experts, and is based on credible data collected by well-respected institutions, he said.
“The goal of the CPI is not to compare countries, but rather to give a snapshot of corruption levels in the public sector, and to offer recommendations for improvement,” he said.
TI Cambodia recently released a report on corruption in the private sector, in which it noted that Cambodia was ranked 131 out of 190 countries in a World Bank ease of doing business survey.
In 2016, 25 percent of Cambodians viewed most or all business executives working in the country as corrupt.
That same year, Cambodia ranked 156 out of 176 countries on the CPI. For the second year in a row, it received a score of 21, making it the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia.