Sun, Oct 05, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Cambodian police official faces corruption charges

AFP, PHNOM PENH

A Cambodian police chief was on Friday charged with corruption and embezzling more than US$650,000 of state funds, officials said, as part of the nation’s drive to eradicate high-level graft.

Hy Narin, head of Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district police force, was the latest official jailed for corruption by Cambodian authorities attempting to clean up graft in one of the world’s most corrupt nations.

“He was charged on three counts including corruption, embezzlement of the state budget and stealing,” court official Yim Chetha told reporters.

Narin embezzled 2,712,236,000 riel (US$665,000) over the past eight years and is being investigated for eight cases of graft, the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), a government agency, said in a statement.

‘GHOST’ WORKERS

The police chief stands accused of taking salaries from “ghost” or absent employees, extorting money from traffic accident victims and forcing his subordinates to pay for safety jackets and rifle covers — items usually provided for free — the statement said.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has previously said that his government would tackle corruption without compromise, calling graft “a dangerous cancer.”

CORRUPTION RANKING

However, Cambodia remains among the world’s most corrupt nations — last year it was ranked 160th out of 177 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

Since its inception in 2011, the ACU has arrested dozens of people over graft.

However, critics have questioned the effectiveness of a corruption unit which is controlled by the ruling party, which has been in charge of Cambodia for more than 30 years.

In 2012, the former head of Cambodia’s anti-drug agency and his aide were sentenced to life in jail for corruption and narcotics trafficking.

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