Donors Call for Investigation

An investigation into possible criminal fraud and embezzlement within the county’s largest demining agency has yet to begin, despite the donor nation’s demand that this be completed by the end of the month.

Though senior CMAC officials say a special commission has been formed to conduct the investigation into allegations of financial fraud inside the troubled agency, newly appointed Dir­ector-General Khem Sophoan said Thursday that the Aug 31 deadline will be missed.

The demand for a criminal in­vestigation is the first time donor nations have looked for legal accountability within CMAC.

But one Western CMAC official said it is unlikely these indictments will be seriously pursued because CMAC’s top officials were either involved with, or knew of, gross mismanagement within CMAC.

“The donors want this but then [CMAC Chairman] Ieng Mouly has to come up with it,” the official said, indicating that Ieng Mouly’s responsibility for overall CMAC activities will make him less likely to reveal corruption.

A senior court official said the government will have to prove CMAC personnel intentionally mis­appropriated agency or government funds to get a corruption conviction.

The official said, based on the allegations already made publicly against CMAC, those convictions would most likely be for defrauding the government, though he was unsure what kind of penalty would be given.

Ieng Mouly said Thursday that the agency’s governing council will meet Monday to discuss the council’s role in any inquiries made by the special commission.

There appears to be some confusion among CMAC’s top officials as to how much power the governing council will wield during the criminal investigation.

Khem Sophoan said the council will decide how to handle any criminal allegations made against CMAC employees—whether to send the cases to court or how to sanction the guilty—while Ieng Mouly said the council could only report the commission’s findings to the government.

“We cannot make a legal decision. It is up to the government and the Ministry of Finance,” Ieng Mouly said.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.