Sok An Avoids Press Queries About Polls Deal

A senior government official instrumental in secretly contracting a private company to stage $26 million elections in July re­fused to speak with reporters about the deal Wednesday and Thursday.

Aides to Sok An wouldn’t make appointments for reporters with the co-minister of the cabinet and didn’t release a press statement.

The deal is said to be an insurance policy against conditions being set by foreign countries for their election aid.

Australian, Japanese and EU officials said they are reviewing their aid agreements to determine if the deal violates them.

A senior adviser to Sok An said the Na­tional Election Committee would pay for private elections, and that government payment of the $26 million tab would violate the NEC’s independence. How­ever, NEC member Chea Cham­roeun said the post-election government must repay the money.

A senior finance official said Wednesday it is doubtful the Cambodian government can procure $26 million for elections.


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