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World Bank Probes USD 5 Million Project on Forest Management Irregularity

The World Bank’s statement issued Wednesday states that the bank is reexamining the contract of the USD 5 million concession forest project sponsored by the bank.

The finding of the investigation would be submitted to the government in the near future for a solution to the irregularity in the project implementation.

This investigation was made after the bank found irregularity and misuse of fund in three development projects financially sponsored by the bank.

The concession forest project is now under the investigation by an independent inspector committee.

The executive director of board of advisors of the bank planned to discuss the findings of the investigation in the near future.

Chea Sam Ang, deputy director Forestry Department of Ministry of Agriculture, says he was not well aware of the project sponsored by the bank and refused to give comments on the issue.

Keo Remy, MP representative from the opposition party said that the bank have helped prevent the forest from being deforested.

Seng Theary, executive Director of the Center for Social Development (CSD), praised the bank for this trustworthy action as she continued to mention that there must have been something wrong or irregular in the project implementation otherwise the bank would not have suspected. It is estimated that there is about 40% of Cambodia covered by the forest.

The Global Witness, who has often criticized Cambodia for forest crimes, logging corruption, was kicked out of the country last year. The Global witness said the Cambodia’s forest has shrunk severely during the 1990s.