NA, Government Delegation To Review Casinos

Lawmakers as well as auditors and other financial officials began a two-day visit Tuesday to see whether casinos in the northwest of the country are declaring all their revenues to fiscal authorities, a senior lawmaker said.

The 30-member delegation, including members of the Nat­ional Assembly’s banking and finance commission as well as Finance Ministry and National Audit Authority officials, will be visiting casinos in Banteay Meanchey province, CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said.

Some transport businesses will also be scrutinized on the trip that includes a stop in Siem Reap province, he said.

“We need to get an accurate report on income from various organizations and businesses in order to give the government recommendations to make changes for the better in collecting revenues for the national budget,” Cheam Yeap said.

The group will be meeting with representatives of 11 casinos in O’Chrou district’s Poipet commune in Banteay Meanchey, Cheam Yeap said.

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay, however, said the visit compromised the independence of the Assembly’s finance commission, which should work separately to the Finance Ministry and the NAA.

“This trip is quite incorrect because National Assembly missions must be done separately from government officials,” Son Chhay said.

NAA Chairman Ut Chhorn could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Mey Vann, director of the Finance Ministry’s financial industry department, said officials from his ministry were helping the lawmakers interpret financial records.

“This trip is very beneficial for the government and our ministry because we can have better information over the effects and benefits of casino operation in our country,” he said.

Annual gains in government casino revenues have in recent years been between 15 and 20 percent, and the government foresees revenues of about $20 million per year from the casino industry, Mey Vann added.

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