Vong Sandab, who was tapped to head the Rural Development Bank on a temporary basis in 1998, has been sent back to his old job amid charges that he improperly loaned $400,000.
He was a deputy department director at the Council for the Development of Cambodia when the Ministry of Finance sent him to RDB as acting director-general.
Finance officials reversed that decision on Oct 24, saying that Vong Sandab had lent money directly to borrowers on two occasions without going through micro-finance agencies as bank rules require.
Son Koun Thor, the new bank head, said Vong Sandab’s activities were a violation of bank regulations. “The RDB has the right to make loans to micro-finance operators, and then the micro-finance operators loan the money directly to borrowers,” he said.
Vong Sandab said Wednesday his removal was unfair and unreasonable, and that officials should have dealt with him face-to-face, or sent him a letter detailing why he was being dismissed.
He does not dispute that he skipped the micro-finance operators to lend the money through two commercial banks in Phnom Penh, but says he was only trying to run the RDB efficiently.
“They are not following bank procedure,” he said. “I have a right to defend myself.”
He said that one of the loans for $200,000—to 10 groups in Kampot province who set up businesses extracting salt from saltwater—has been mostly paid back, with only $26,300 in arrears.
The second $200,000 loan, to a Kompong Thom man who planned an extensive agricultural plantation raising rice, fruits and other products, has not been repaid because the plantation was destroyed by flooding, he said.