Depositors Upset Over Pace of Audit

Depositors of the closed Agri­culture and Commercial Bank are still criticizing the National Bank of Cambodia for not re­covering their money from Com­mercial, whose financial status is now being assessed by an ap­pointed auditor.

Seng Phally, chairman of the Depositors’ Rights Protection Committee, which organized a demonstration late last week, continued Tuesday to blame the central bank, saying it is the entity most responsible for the depositors’ money because it forced the bank to close in late December.

The Agriculture and Com­mercial Bank was one of 11 banks closed after they failed to meet tougher regulations re­quired by the new banking law, including an increase of the minimum in capital from $5 million to $13 million. After the closure, the management of the Agriculture and Com­mercial Bank disappeared from Cam­bodia and abandoned depositors without notice or payment.

“The National Bank is responsible and should pay money back to us,” Seng Phally repeated.

Representing 30 NGOs, 20 private companies, two labor unions and about 300 squatter families, the committee claims its members  have nearly 200 bank accounts  worth $1 million.

At this point, the responsibility for liquidating Commercial Banks does not belong to the central bank, but to the appointed liquidators. According to the law, an independent administrator is required to audit the assets and liabilities of a liquidating commercial bank within three months of their appointment, and a second Na­tional Bank-appointed liquidator is then required to sell assets, collect credits and pay depositors.

An auditor from the US accounting firm Arthur Ander­son, appointed by the National Bank in Febru­ary, is assessing the Agri­culture and Commercial Bank’s status.

“There are some progresses in liquidation,” said Tal Nai Im, director-general of the National Bank. “They’ve finished verifying all the bank accounts.They will an­nounce results of the assessment soon.”

Seng Phally said the depositors’ committee has not contacted the auditor yet.



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