The recently released Global Witness report “Country For Sale” is enough evidence to request international banks to freeze the ac-counts and seize assets of the officials named in the report, opposition party head Sam Rainsy said by phone Monday.
“There is enough evidence now to stop the corruption that is going to destroy Cambodia,” he said.
The report issued Feb 5 claims high-level government corruption is running rampant in the emerging oil, gas and mineral extraction industries in Cambodia. The report lists specific officials Global Witness believes are involved.
Nambora Hor, the ambassador of Cambodia in Great Britain, accuses the global human rights group of “pursuing a malicious campaign to try and discredit the country and its leaders” in a Feb 5 press release.
“It is time to ask the international community to take action,” Sam Rainsy said. “The major donor countries’ governments must help us ensure the assistance reaches the Cambodian people.”
Sam Rainsy believes the ability to deliver the assistance from the oil industry to the people may be threatened if questions raised by the report are not answered.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan feels that may be a premature conclusion, he said by phone Monday. “First we need to determine if the information in the report is true, partly true or if it is a false statement,” he said. “We will investigate the Global Witness re-port; it is occurring.”
Phay Siphan said Cambodia has a legal framework to investigate corruption on its own. “We are merely at the stage of gathering information,” Phay Siphan said.
One banking official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to comment, suggested two immediate developments would help cut down on corruption: transparency, so people know the rules of doing business, and streamlining processes so there are fewer opportunities for bribery.
The official said it is easy for Sam Rainsy to criticize, but there must be a strategy to fight corruption.
The Sam Rainsy Party in association with the Human Rights Party will hold a press conference at 9 am Wednesday at SRP headquarters to offer their view of Cambodia’s economic outlook.