Opposition Calls for Answers from CMAC

Sam Rainsy Party members have again called for Cambodian Mine Action Center Chairman Ieng Mouly to explain the agen­cy’s financial crisis before Na­tional Assembly members.

In mid-September Sam Rainsy requested Ieng Mouly go before the National Assembly. The party Tuesday released a statement complaining the government has ignored the request.

“The government has been getting frightened of facing the questions, on most critical issues facing the nation, raised by the opposition,” the statement reads.

A reform process was begun by CMAC officials in August under the leadership of new Director-General Khem Soph­oan. Former head Sam Sotha was blamed for most of CMAC’s problems and fired in August.

But opposition party members say no clear answer has been given as to what went wrong inside CMAC during Sam Sotha’s tenure.

“[Ieng Mouly] was the executive during this time. He was the Chair and totally responsible for CMAC’s philosophy and its mission,” Sam Rainsy Party cabinet chief Phi Thach said Wednesday.

Ieng Mouly has said he is completely prepared to answer questions about CMAC before the National Assembly but claimed Tuesday he was the wrong person to be called forward.

“Very few people know how CMAC is run. I am the very first person they ask for when something is wrong but [Sam] Sotha was involved in the day-to-day operations,” Ieng Mouly said. “The chairman has nothing to do with the day-to-day things.”

Ieng Mouly suggested that Sam Sotha be questioned in­stead, saying that “would be the right thing to do.”

Sam Sotha, who after his firing was appointed Prime Minister Hun Sen’s adviser on land mine issues, has consistently defended his CMAC record, saying the agency became too big to be adequately managed by only him.

The problems detailed by the first CMAC audit were not his fault, Sam Sotha has claimed, calling himself a scapegoat for other, more guilty agency officials.

Phi Thach said Wednesday that perhaps Sam Sotha should also answer questions about CMAC, “to help his old boss.”

Ieng Mouly said he will use his time before the National Assem­bly, which is tentatively scheduled for the second week in November, to update parliamentarians on reforms inside CMAC.

“They want to accuse me of wrongdoing. They want this job, but I don’t care about that. I am ready,” Ieng Mouly said.


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