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2007 Audit Finds Irregularities, Inefficiencies

The Cambodian government on Thursday made public the results of a 2007 government audit, where it found a lack of income from national revenue and other irregularities.

The report, issued by the National Audit Authority, found irregularities in the import and export sector and a “lack of efficiency” in the fight against customs crimes and other areas that cause a loss of revenue.

Taxation on land concessions and real estate remained a problem, and the government has “no full capacity” to earn revenue from mining, the report found.

Thursday’s audit release marked the first time such information has been made public.

“There are some small mistakes, but we must mention them,” said Out Chhorn, the national auditor-general.

According to the Australian government, Cambodia loses between $300 million and $500 million per year in revenue lost to corruption.

“We cannot know how much the loss is,” said Out Chhorn, declining to elaborate on the relationship between corruption and revenue.

Out Chhorn said the audit would be submitted to the National Assembly and other government institutions.

Son Chhay, a lawmaker for the opposition Sam Rainsy Party, said the audit was not clear enough and had not emphasized the responsibility of government institutions or other parties for the alleged “irregularities.”

However, Kang Chandararoth, president of the Cambodian Institute for Development Study, welcomed the report.

“It’s a good thing, because Cambodia has entered the integration of Asean,” he said. “It’s to warm up for Asean partnership.”