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World Bank Parliamentary Panel to Review Cambodia


A 14-member World Bank parliamentary delegation will arrive in Cambodia later this month to review some of the lending body's policies there.

The delegates, from 12 different countries, are part of the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank, which is tasked with strengthening accountability and transparency in lender countries.

The World Bank's programs have come under fire in Cambodia for widespread corruption. A Wall Street Journal editorial in October accused the World Bank in Cambodia of "smiling past corruption."

In response, the World Bank said bank staff had raised concerns about corruption in the first place, and in 2006 the bank suspended funding for three projects.

The delegation's six-day field visit will include meetings to determine Cambodia's development priorities and look at the work of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, Cambodia World Bank spokesman Bou Saroeun said.

About 35 percent of Cambodians still live below the poverty line, living on about $0.45 per person per day, despite billions of dollars in aid and grants from donor countries and lending groups like the World Bank.

"They will clearly learn about the realities on corruption and poverty, where people are victimized by land grabbing and the privatization of public property, which causes the poor to be poorer and poorer," opposition leader Sam Rainsy said.

CPP lawmaker Cheam Yiep welcomed the visit. Such delegations were common in other countries that received aid from the World Bank, he said.

"When the World Bank [delegation] arrives, it is to scrutinize their work, and we welcome that," he said.

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