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Investigations, Not Reactions: Global Witness

Responding to public government criticism, the environmental watchdog Global Witness said in a statement Thursday it was disappointed the government had not investigated more of the group's claims.

"Over the past five years, Global Witness has collected evidence of deeply damaging exploitation of the country's forests, minerals, oil and gas," said Eleanor Nichol, a campaigner for Global Witness, referring to two reports currently banned by the government, "Cambodia's Family Trees" and "Country for Sale."

The group found "high-level corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, kidnapping and at least two cases of attempted murder," Nichol said in an e-mail to VOA Khmer. "To date, however, we have seen no credible investigation or public enquiry into our reports."

Nichol was responding to public criticism by government officials, including the Cambodian ambassador to the United Kingdom, who called on donors to the organization to hold it more responsible for information in its reports.

Global Witness has pointed to high-ranking corruption in timber, oil and minerals as causes for concern, but its reports are routinely denied by the government. Earlier this month, Global Witness called on the British government to revoke a visa for Prime Minister Hun Sen, who planned to visit.

Nichol said Thursday the group was "deeply disappointed that the goernment has chosen to react in this, rather than investigate issues so central to the public interest."

Koy Kuong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declined to comment further.