Anti-Corruption Law

The anti-corruption activities of the Royal Government of Cambodia are moving apace as the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), an entity created in tandem with the promulgation of the 2010 Anti-Corruption Law (ACL), continues to find proactive and innovative ways to implement the law.

  1. Is it legal to make “unofficial” payments to governmental officials?

Until recently, the payment of “unofficial” fees (i.e. meaning that they are not sanctioned by law or receipted) to Government officials for the performance of their routine duties was a long standing and accepted practice in Cambodia. However, this position changed as a result of the implementation of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Law (ACL). Amongst other things, the ACL makes the payment of unofficial fees to governmental officials illegal. This restriction includes facilitation fees.

  1. When did the ACL come into effect?

The ACL came into legal effect in August 2011.

  1. Does the new law only apply to Cambodian nationals?

No, it applies to Cambodian nationals, foreigners and legal entities.

  1. What are the potential penalties applicable under the ACL?

There are a range of penalties under the ACL, the harshest of which include imprisonment, loss of company assets and deportation.

  1. Is the ACL the only such law that I should be concerned about?

No. Many countries, such as the USA, the UK, Australia, Japan and South Korea have extra-territorial anti-corruption laws. We therefore advise all clients not to make any unofficial payments in violation of the ACL as you may be exposed to both local and foreign prosecution.

  1. What impact does the ACL have on business?

Strict compliance with the ACL can lead to time delays and increased costs where government processes are involved. A positive step has been the recent introduction of regulations by a number of Ministries with respect to official fees and service timeframes and doing business has become easier