Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summoned the World Bank’s country manager to testify in the investigation of the lone government official arrested in the multimillion dollar World Bank funding scandal, officials said Tuesday.
The court summoned Country Manager Nisha Agrawal to appear Tuesday but she failed to attend, said Thuy Sokun, the lawyer defending Mour Kimsan, the Ministry of Rural Development’s former director of the World Bank’s Provincial and Rural Infrastructure Project.
“She is also summoned to explain to the court, because the World Bank has shouted about the embezzlement,” he said.
Mour Kimsan, a Funcinpec official, was arrested in July and charged with embezzling over $800,000 in World Bank funds.
Government lawyer Suong Chanthan confirmed that Investigating Judge and Court Director Chiv Keng summoned Agrawal to appear.
He said it was not clear whether she would testify against Mour Kimsan alone or against other officials implicated by the World Bank’s independent investigation.
World Bank spokesman Bou Saroeun declined to comment and an automated response from Agrawal’s e-mail stated that she is out of the office until Sept 11.
Chiv Keng refused to comment.
In June, the World Bank revealed that 43 contracts had been improperly and corruptly procured in projects inside five government ministries.
Thuy Sokun said officials from the Ministry of National Assembly and Senate Relations and Inspection will appear in court today. In the coming weeks, 12 rural development officials from Kompong Thom, Siem Reap, Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces will also attend court over the case, he said.
Thuy Sokun said the officials have been summoned over the World Bank scandal, but he was unclear of the details. He also said that Mour Kimsan should not bear sole responsibility for the scandal. “The money is not lost to my client alone, there are many people involved,” he said.