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Surveillance Generale Services cam under fire for its new report to pander to the government

Surveillance Generale Services came under fire Monday for putting out a new report that panders to the government and fails to scrutinize the illegal logging industry – although it, ostensibly, is hired to monitor and watchdog the timber industry.

SGS, a Swiss-based firm engulfed in controversy for most of its nearly 10 years in Cambodia, is employed by the government, in part, to fulfill a deal with international donors who publicly claim to want to see progress in government regulation of the rampant and uncontrolled timber industry.

Millions of dollars of potential government revenue that could be used to improve Cambodia’s miserable education and health-care systems is, instead, going to the private pockets of corrupt Cambodian officials and foreign businessmen.

An SGS quarterly report released Thursday mentioned violations by residents and low-level officials and not about large companies or top officials.

Mike Davis, a top official for the environmental protection group, Global Witness - which was for years the government’s illegal logging watchdog, until it was fired by Prime Minister Hun Sen in 1993 – told VOA on Monday that the new SGS report aims ‘’to please the government’’ and fails to document abuses by top officials, particularly in provinces such as Kampong Thom and Ratanakkiri.

Davis said the SGS report showed no concern for the environment or for the citizens of Cambodia, most of whom continue to live in squalor despite 14 years of mass international aid and the same ruling administration for even longer.