An opposition party lawmaker has questioned whether the Cambodian Honorary Consulate in Lowell in the US state of Massachusetts used government money to splurge on an expensive party that took place in the city on Sunday night.
In a letter dated June 15, SRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang asked Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong to explain where the funding for the party—which was held to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the deliverance of the Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia—had come from, and alleged that the government was wasting national budget funds.
“The Consulate should not spend their money lavishly like this,” wrote Mr Eang. “They should leave the money in the national budget and spend it wisely.”
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann explained that Mr Eang had become suspicious when he saw that guests at the party weren’t paying for anything and wondered where the money for the event had come from. “During the economic crisis, we should be using this money more wisely,” he said.
According to Koam Kosal, advisor to National Assembly president Heng Samrin, Mr Eang’s letter has already been signed and passed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for viewing.
Although Hor Namhong had not yet received the letter on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong denied that the money spent on the party had come from the national budget.
“The [criticism] is not right. The money came directly out of consulate member’s own pockets,” he said.
According to Mr Kuong, there are about 11 honorary Cambodian consulates based around the world, two of which are located in the US.
Ou Sovann, Cambodia’s honorary consul in Lowell, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.