Cambodia Sees Slight Improvements on Corruption Index

Cambodia has inched slightly up the global Corruption Perceptions Index, shifting from 20 scores out of 100 in 2018 to 24 in 2022, however, more measures need to be put in place for it to improve its ranking
Pech Pisey, TI Cambodia executive director, speaking at Tuesday’s event. Photo: supplied
Pech Pisey, TI Cambodia executive director, speaking at Tuesday’s event. Photo: supplied

Cambodia’s global corruption score has slightly improved with it receiving 24 out of 100 in the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which was released today by Transparency International (TI), placing it 150th out of the 180 countries.

When compared to last year's outcome, the score and ranking show a slight improvement. The country scored 23 out of 100 in the 2021 CPI, placing it 157th globally.

Cambodia’s CPI scores have generally grown over the previous five years, rising from 20 in 2018 to 24 in 2022. While this may be considered a positive improvement, the score is still rather low, indicating that much more effort has to be done to eliminate corruption in the country.

Cambodia is the third-lowest country in the Asia-Pacific region and has the second-lowest place in ASEAN. Myanmar ranked 157th and North Korea ranked 171st, Other ASEAN countries' results have been diverse, with some a decline in their rankings.

The country with the worst decline was Myanmar, which saw its score drop by five points from 28 to 23 from the previous year. Myanmar is presently regarded as Southeast Asia's most corrupt nation as a result of this.

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Although its score declined by two points in comparison to 2020's result (85 to 83), Singapore continues to rank among the top five cleanest countries worldwide.

According to TI Cambodia, the in-depth analysis of the eight key sources were used to calculate Cambodia's CPI score. CPI is a well-known and commonly used composite index that assigns a score from 0 (extremely corrupt) to 100 to nations and territories, depending on how regarded to be corrupt their public sector (very clean).

Pech Pisey, TI Cambodia executive director, said at Tuesday’s launch that it compiles information from several reliable sources that offer opinions of businesspeople and local experts on the extent of corruption in the public sector. A total of 180 countries and territories are ranked in the CPI for 2022, which is based on up to 13 polls.

"We commend the Cambodian government for the many achievements it has made in recent years, which have resulted in a steady decline in small-scale corruption,” Pisey said.

The Public Financial Management Reform (PFMR) program and the One Window Service effort, which have considerably improved the nation's revenue mobilization, fiscal management and public service delivery are the most notable among the ranking.

The TI Cambodia director noted, "However, we also believe public financial management reform must go hand in hand with democratic and rule of law reforms.”

He added, “Without the latter reforms, public financial management reform would be ineffective and unsustainable as it would lack the necessary oversight and accountability to ensure that public funds are being used responsibly and transparently.”

Pisey said only with a strong political will and commitment to reforming the rule of law can corruption, which remains prevalent and the most consequential in Cambodia, be reduced,"

Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of TI, said leaders can fight corruption and promote peace together. “Governments must open up space to include the public in decision-making from activists and business owners to marginalized communities and young people. In democratic societies, people can raise their voices to help root out corruption and demand a safer world for us all.”

Phay Siphan, Cambodian government spokesman, added, "In this report, I am not paying attention because in the UN there is no ranking of corruption, and the report does not reveal how to compute the rating. So, just think that quantitative ranking is not quality since it does not indicate the ranking."

However, Siphan said that Cambodia’s fight against corruption has been successful, with public financial changes relating to national revenues, the effective distribution of the national budget, and law enforcement. In addition, the government has brought together expertise to prevent corruption from arising in a system that is balanced and responsible.

“Law enforcement has been so good that with some officials, arrests, imprisonment, and confiscation of property, this anti-corruption scare has shocked officials,” Siphan told Kiripost.

He added that a point of reference is public revenue and public expenditure, which are organized in a system that does not allow manual changes, following a clear and accountable revenue and expenditure system.

Siphan said the government is growing resilient public savings that can help people, buy vaccines, and lend to the micro and macro sectors to help revive the economy, all of which comes from the basic anti-corruption results.

“A system of balance and accountability for public revenue to social security, as well as the public having more money on hand and a stronger economy, are the foundations of the fight against corruption. Revenue rises and corruption falls as public management is reformed,” Siphan said.

According to the CPI, the majority of countries have made little to no progress in combating corruption during the past 10 years, and more than two-thirds of countries have scores below 50.

Global peace has deteriorated and corruption has been both a key cause and result of this. Corruption undermines trust in governments and their ability to protect the public, leading to increased security threats that are harder to control. On the other hand, conflict creates opportunities for corruption and makes governments less able to address it.