Court Orders Contractor’s Passport Held

As the investigation into improprieties relating to the rehabilitation of a 83-km stretch of Route 7 continues, a Kratie prosecutor has ordered the confiscation of the passport belonging to the president of a Chinese-owned construction company.

The road project came under court scrutiny after the sub-contractor, East Toyo Construction Co, Ltd, alleged it had been given fake specifications that would have led to the road’s rapid disintegration. East Toyo has filed a $400,000 lawsuit in Kratie provincial court against China Jilin International Economic and Technical Corporation for work already completed on the road.

Contractor China Jilin is resp­on­sible for rehabilitation from Snuol to a point 15 km south of Kratie. The project was funded by an $11 million ADB loan.

Kratie prosecutor Penh Vibol has issued a warrant for the confiscation of China Jilin president Cao Ming Hong’s passport on charges he may have falsified documents.

East Toyo representatives allege specifications provided by China Jilin created embankments on a 65-km stretch of the road that are too steep to sustain runoff from the road, and would have led to accelerated erosion.

The East Toyo Corporation has accused China Jilin of providing a fake blueprint, Penh Vibol said. Representatives from The Snowy Mountain Engineering Corp had submitted a blueprint with different embankments than the China Jilin blueprint. SMEC representatives were unwilling to sign court documents without approval from their superiors, Penh Vibol said.

SMEC is the private inspection firm approved by the ADB and the government to consult on the project, Penh Vibol said.

The attorney for East Toyo is asking the court to suspend construction during the investigation.

“How can I do that when the [top] leaders don’t ask me to,” Penh Vibol said. “In this country, there are laws and leaders that I respect.”

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