Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Extracting the dollar figures

Extracting the dollar figures

Extracting the dollar figures

COMPANIES involved in Cambodia’s extractive industries have revealed further information about controversial payments to the government, as more detailed revenue figures showed the state received more than 9 billion riels (US$2.25 million) from the sector last year.

Following an announcement by Australian miner BHP Billiton that it was conducting an internal investigation of possible graft violations widely believe to have taken place in Cambodia, the French energy giant Total responded this week to revelations made by Prime Minister Hun Sen last month that it had paid $28 million as part of a deal for offshore Area III in October.

The figure appeared to contradict an official disclosure by a Ministry of Economy and Finance official in March that showed payments of $26 million were paid in January, but Total spokeswoman Phenelope Semavoine said by email Tuesday that the additional $2 million “will be made at a later date”.

She added that Total would co-manage a social fund programme for education and health in the Kingdom, without giving further details.

Total’s response comes on the heels of a report indicating that the government received $1.45 million from the mining sector and $800,000 from the oil and gas industry last year, the first year the government has made public official payments from the extractives industries.

Although the government still has not published complete 2009 revenues from the sector as part of TOFE (state financial operations notice) on the Finance Ministry website, the Post obtained a presentation from last month’s Oxfam America conference that showed the full-year payments.

Chevron spokesman Gareth Johnstone declined to comment Thursday on whether the US firm had made similar payments to the state as part of its involvement in offshore Block A, citing “contractual arrangements” and “commercially confidential information”.

Southern Gold, which is exploring for minerals in western Cambodia, said late Wednesday it had not made any payments to the government as part of its concession agreements.

“We have good relationship[s] with our joint-venture partners and have regular audits, doubled when we consider our JV partners audits and checks,” Cambodia representative Grant Thomas said by email.

“We at Southern Gold do not pay those types of payments [or] fees.”


  • Government hits back at threats to pull EBA, suspend UN seat

    The spokesman for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) has said the government is in no way concerned after the European Parliament gave it three months to reverse what it called the “systematic repression of the political opposition”. Ignoring the ultimatum could mean facing

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • Sar Kheng: Sokha requested security

    Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Sunday revealed the story behind the transfer of former opposition party leader Kem Sokha from Trapaing Phlong prison in Tbong Khmum province to his house in the capital. Speaking at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) headquarters in Prey

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said