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Cambodian Prime Minister Blames World Bank's Representative Over Alleged Corruption

A Cambodian government top official puts the blames on the World Bank for its corruption charges, in front of this bank's reprensative, says this head of state's aide.

The World Bank and the Cambodian government last month exchanged words regarding corruption in the amount of $64 million 200,000, in which the bank decides to suspend 3 projects in a number of important ministries.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and World Bank's Board of Director's official in Cambodia, Joong Kyung Choi agreed to meet Wednesday afternoon for almost 3 hours at the Council of Ministers.

Referring to the meeting, Mr. Hun Sen's adviser Eang Sophallet says that Mr. Hun Sen compared the bank's charges to an absentia verdict, like that of the Khmer Rouge regime's, in which the bank condemns the government, to refund the money without any evidences or witnesses.

Mr. Hun Sen says that the bank should provide witnesses and evidence so the Camdodian side can investigate to find the persons involved to bring them to justice, rather than a conviction going by a-three page document which was just a suit, not a verdict. He says that the World Bank considers this as an in absentia verdict to convict Cambodia, without any protests from this country.

Mr. Joong says that the World Bank Department of Institutional Integrity's investigation cannot be 100% right. The bank on Thursday issued a statement on behalf of Mr. Joong, says the World Bank news official Bou Saroeun.

Mr. Bou Saroeun says that his office has not received any information regarding this yet, but that the representative has not assessed or given any judgement on the quality of the World Bank Department of Institutional Integrity'sinvestigations yet.

Mr. Bou Saroeun declines comment about the comparison of the World Bank's in absentia verdict to the Khmer Rouge regime's conviction of its victims.

Opposition Sam Rainsy party (SRP)'s legislator and Director of the National Assembly's committee of foreign affairs, international cooperation, and information, Son Chhay says that Mr. Hun Sen's comparison is groundless, because the World Bank's activities are conducted for the Cambodian people and societies' benefits so that they will be responsible (citizens) and to better their qualities of life. He says that this kind of comparison cannot solve corruption problems in Cambodia.

NGO Licadho director Pung Chhiv Kek says that the government should inform the public about the corruption investigation procedure and the World Bank's alledged corruptions, letting them know where it is headed, and about the results.