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World Bank Supports Opposition Initiative on Role of MP in Check And Balance

The World Bank supports legislature's important role in the government receiving loans from donor countries, and its power to oversee the government's spending the loans.

In the past the bank charged the Cambodian government of corruption in its funds for 7 major projects.

In a letter to the World Bank representative, opposition Sam Rainsy party (SRP), senator Tioulong Saumura asked the bank some questions, including her concerns about senators' roles, asking the bank if it wants to push legislature to have a wide range of roles to oversee the government's activities in using loans from donors.

In a reply to Ms. Saumura, which VOA receives, World Bank representative in Cambodia Ian Porter, quotes World Bank senior country Economist Robert Taliercio as saying the National Assembly should have a role as a mechanism to review the budget which the government presents to it, as a control body for the government to be responsible for implementing policies and services for the people.

Mr. Porter says that this initiative shows an important step toward an agreement between senators and multi-party development institutions to promote transparency of policies.

He says further that this initiative might help senators to get additional information about the World Bank's activities in Cambodia. He says that this issue will help strengthen an important role which the National Assembly has, in clarifying that the funds have been used effectively in the projects to reduce poverty in Cambodia.

The World Bank and the government of Cambodia have had tensions in the past because the bank discovered irregulaties in contracts and misuse of funds in a total of seven major projects, totaling 11,900,000 U.S. dollars, and asked the government to pay back $7,600,000.

The National Assembly has been criticized by opposition for not having the rights to monitor and control the government's spending from foreign countries, only on papers.

Senator Saumura says that she believes that while the National Assembly does not fulfill its duty as overseer all the government's spendings and activities, the national economy will not progress, and be stable.

The Cambodian People's Party (CPP)'s National Assembly President, Heng Samrin, does not elaborate about the Assembly's plan on this, but that the Assembly must oversee the loans.

The National Assembly financial and banking committee's chairman Chiem Yiep of CPP does not react much to this issue, but says that before giving loans to the Cambodian government, the World Bank has definite principles, and must monitor the use of funds.

Now the government has found some of the alleged corrupted officials, and that the funds must be used according their intented goals.