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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CMAC Rot Goes Deep: MP

CMAC Rot Goes Deep: MP

CMAC management is riddled with nepotism, sexual bribery and political misuse of


So says Son Chhay, National Assembly member for the Sam Rainsy Party and a veteran

anti-corruption campaigner.

While Chhay is scathing in his appraisal of CMAC Director General Sam Sotha and Chairman

Ieng Mouly ("Neither person is suitable for their position"), he attributes

much of the blame for the organization's widespread corruption on "some, not

all of" CMAC's foreign Technical Advisors (TAs).

"Foreign Technical Advisors working with CMAC have been corrupted by Khmer

[management] and have known about [fraud and mismanagement] and have benefited from

it," Chhay alleged.

Chhay's allegations have been supported by CMAC insiders who have long questioned

management irregularities that have been overlooked by certain foreign colleagues.

According to Chhay, Chairman of CMAC's Governing Council Ieng Mouly has told the

National Assembly that "a large sum" of CMAC funds have been used to lobby

TAs to support CMAC efforts to secure funding from their respective governments.

"TAs have been given a good time, such as free meals and sex with beautiful

girls to keep [the TAs] eyes blind [to corruption and mismanagement]," he says.

One of the long-rumored elements of CMAC operations that the "compliant"

foreign advisors to CMAC have apparently turned a blind eye to over the years is

CMAC's recruitment practices.

"People have to pay to get positions in CMAC," Chhay says. "That's

not rumor, that's fact, it's just that nobody's ever looked deeply into the problem."

Chhay further contends that top CMAC staff are in effect "allotted" CMAC

positions which they in turn sell for personal gain or bestow as gifts on supporters.

"Out of every 100 vacant CMAC positions, at least 40 to 50 have to be divided

among Ieng Mouly and Sam Sotha's friends and relatives," Chhay explains. The

remaining 60 [jobs] are given to [lower-ranking] CMAC staff's family members."

The result of CMAC's corrupt recruiting practices, says Chhay, has been the development

of an institutional "code of silence" which discourages potential whistle


"So secrets are kept," Chhay explained. "People keep their mouths


Recruiting practices also encourage tolerance of personnel "re-deployments"

to tasks not related to CMAC's stated mission of mine reduction.

"CMAC staff were forced to support Ieng Mouly's political party [the BLDP] during

the last election," Chhay claims. "During the election [Mouly] used CMAC

for a source of expense [payments]. . . there was lots of manipulation to squeeze

money out of CMAC so the BLDP would have enough funds for the election."

According to Chhay, the problems within CMAC require urgent and immediate government


"The government needs to understand that [CMAC} survives by getting money from

donor countries," Chhay says. "We need people who are more accountable

to take care of this work."



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