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Opposition Party and NGOs Want to See Investigation into World Bank Projects

Opposition Sam Rainsy party and NGOs officials on Monday appeal to the government and the World Bank to discuss cooperation for inquiry about irregularities related to the bank's aid of 64 million dollars for 3 development projects, asking the government not to dispense the money for the projects, due to a corruption scandal.

This appeal occurs after the Ministry of Economy and Finance suspended funding for 3 development projects supported by the World Bankd last week worth $64 million after it discovered irregularities in contracts and misuse of funds.

This ministry afterwards allows the projects to proceed because the World Bank does not give reasons and concrete evidence about the corruption charges to the government.

Opposition party legislator Keo Remy says that the government should cooperate with the World Bank to find the corrupted perpetrators in the 3 projects first, before executing the projects in a hurry. He says that the data presented to the World Bank should be considered, and the government should show that they are willing to reduce and stop corruption.

Center for Social Development's executive director Heav Veasna says that the center wants to see the government and the World Bank work hand in hand in solving the problem to reveal the corruption and expose those involved.

The World Bank's statement Sunday says that it will show documents involving the 3 projects Tuesday. Prime Minister Hun Sen's advisor Om Yentieng says that the government is ready to cooperate with the World Bank to stop corruption but the World Bank should not mix politics with corruption.

In a statement aired on television, Minister of Economy and Finance Kiet Chhon says that the decision was made without any evidence to support the charges which have an impact on the suspension of funds for the execution of the 3 projects by the World Bank and on the government's reforms.

The World Bank last Monday said that it had discovered irregularities in contracts and misuse of funds in a total of 7 projects, and the bank is investigating 4, while 3 other projects have been investigated.

In 1993 Cambodian government had to reimburse $2 million to the World Bank for corruption in demilitarized troops.