Cambodia’s Anti-Drug Czar Convicted for Drug Trafficking

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In 2009, Cambodia's drug czar oversaw burning of nearly four tons of herbs and chemicals used to make methamphetamines. Today he stands exposed as a drug trafficker in his own right. /REUTERS

As Cambodia’s national drug czar, Moek Dara was in charge of putting a stop to the narcotics trade in his nation, a major hub for traffickers after neighboring Thailand began cracking down on them in 2003.

Today, a provincial court sentenced the former drug czar to life in prison for taking bribes, in a case that exposed him as the mastermind of major drug trafficking shipments. A former secretary general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, Dara had accepted bribes and facilitated the very trade his office is charged with eradicating.

His arrest a year ago came as a shock to many Cambodians. Dara had been a fixture in the country’s power elite for years. He held senior posts in the ruling Cambodian People’s Party and in the Interior Ministry, which oversees law enforcement.

The arrest is part of a larger effort in Cambodia to fight drug trafficking, which has brought about hundreds of arrests in recent years, including  several senior government officials.

Sweep to Cambodia drug czar gets life term for corruption

Israel's former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, indicted Thursday. / REUTERS

Israel’s former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was indicted along with 17 others Thursday, in the largest corruption scandal in the country’s history.

The indictments allege massive bribery from 2003 to 2007 involving a luxury real estate development in Jerusalem known as the Holyland complex and other real estate ventures. The bribes won those who paid a variety of advantages: rezoning of land for residential development, quicker government approval of projects, permission to build more units and lower taxes.

The indicted read like a Who’s Who in Jerusalem political and business circles. In addition to Olmert, who had previously served as mayor of Jerusalem, another former mayor, Uri Lupolianski, was also charged in the case, along with a former deputy mayor, Eliezer Shamhiof, and other city officials and real estate titans.

Sweep to Former PM Ehud Olmert indicted over Holyland scandal 

Lesson one in Mozambique: corruption begins at the schoolhouse door.

That is what parents in Maputo are denouncing, in calls to local radio stations that are bringing to light a problem that citizens have long tolerated in silence.

While primary education is supposed to be free in the East African nation, in reality parents said they must pay bribes to everyone along the food chain, starting with the security guard, just to enroll their children in the more desirable schools.

They spoke of standing in line overnight to secure a place, only to have line jumpers arrive at the last minute, paying bribes to snatch up the available slots.

Sweep to Mozambique: Claims of corruption in school enrollment

New York City’s superlobbyist, Richard Lipsky, pleaded guilty Wednesday to paying some $260,000 in bribes to a state senator from Brooklyn, in a bid to win special attention for his clients’ causes and business interests.

The payments went to Carl Kruger, the Brooklyn state senator who lived lavishly on more than $1 million in bribes, and his “intimate friend,” Michael Turano, a gynecologist.

Kruger lived well beyond his means: He owned a mansion in the waterside neighborhood of Mill Basin in Brooklyn, and drove a Bentley–a car that sells for more than $200,000 new. Kruger tearfully pleaded guilty to charges of corruption and influence peddling two weeks ago, and could face 11 years in prison.

The verdicts result from a broad investigation into corruption and influence peddling in New York politics by the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York.

Lipsky, whose clients include retailers, supermarkets, beverage distributors and Forest City  Ratner, a real estate developer, faces up to 71 months in prison when he is sentenced May 4.

Sweep to Lobbyist Richard Lipsky apologizes for paying bribes to disgraced pol Carl Kruger

 

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo is co-founding executive editor of 100Reporters and an award-winning former foreign, national and cultural correspondent for The New York Times and the Baltimore Sun.

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