A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Siem Reap officials diverted ADB funding: ACU

A pedestrian walks past the ACU headquarters in Phnom Penh last year.
Siem Reap officials diverted ADB funding: ACU

Mon, 23 May 2016 ppp
Niem Chheng and Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

A statement released on Friday by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has implicated three officials from the Siem Reap department of rural development in the misappropriation of funds from two projects financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

According to the statement, office chief Ou Sovan Dara, his deputy Thon Solida and a third lower-ranking official, Sok Sarun, are accused of making false declarations about the allocation of resources worth “millions” of riel for the ADB project “Emergency Food Assistance Phases I and II” and a project simply referred to as “HAP” between 2008 and 2012.

It’s claimed bulldozers and other machinery were used in the construction of a road instead of human labour, which is what was declared officially.

In response to an anonymous complaint, the ACU questioned Siv Ratha, head of the provincial department of rural development, who according to the statement gave a description of the project. Ratha could not be reached yesterday.

Spokesmen for the Ministry of Rural Development could not be reached yesterday and the ADB did not respond to inquiries as of press time.

Public ADB project documents for a project and additional financing active between 2008 and 2012 titled “Emergency Food Assistance Project” indicate grants and loans totalling nearly $60 million. A 2012 audit report for that project shows no impropriety.

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