Prime Minister Hun Sen lashed out at unnamed critics yesterday, saying there was no corruption in large-scale development projects backed by foreign aid.
“[For example] as for the Neak Leung bridge or Kizuna bridge… Japan runs its bids in Tokyo.
Therefore, only Japanese companies have the right to bid,” he said, speaking at a graduation ceremony at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh.
“They say that’s corruption. What corruption?”
It is unclear what accusations the premier is referring to, though opposition lawmakers have raised questions at the National Assembly over bidding processes in development projects.
At $131 million, the Neak Leung bridge project – which will span the Mekong River between Kandal and Prey Veng provinces and is expected to finish in 2015 – is one of the country’s most expensive donor infrastructure projects.
Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said yesterday he agreed with the premier’s comments, but pointed out that Japan’s decision to seek tenders only in its own country was likely indicative of rampant corruption within Cambodia.
“The [Japanese company] constructs on their own because they have lost their confidence in allowing Khmer [companies] to bid,” he said.
“This is a true story, so the government must know itself why Japan is not confident in us and they agree to bid it before giving it as gift to Cambodia, because we are so corrupt.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at [email protected]