Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday lashed out the National Auditing Authority (NAA) over the late public release of its annual report that analyses the government’s revenues and expenditures.
Hun Sen's scolding of the NAA was made during a meeting in Phnom Penh yesterday to discuss reforms to public financial management, and was in response to a recent visit at the premier's home by the European Ambassador Jean-François Cautain.
“[The NAA] should not necessary be asking for the recommendation from the prime minister on whether to publish [the report]. This has to be published because we don’t have anything to hide at all. Don’t make annoyances for the prime minister,” Hun Sen said.
“This means that after the auditing, [if] it has to be published, [you] have to publish it. Don’t make it late, because when His Excellency Jean-François Cautain met me at my house, he raised [the issue] about the report,” he added.
Hun Sen said that once Deputy Prime Minister Keat Chhon had checked the document, there was no need for it to be passed onto himself.
“I think that there is nothing to hide over the money for expenses, because it is brought to be checked at the national assembly,” the PM reiterated.
On March 29 the NAA released three separate reports on public finances for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011. The March release marks a total of four reports since the audit body was established in 2000. The NAA said at the time that they had been slow to release the information as the institution was undergoing reforms.
Son Chhay, opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker, said the Prime Minister’s call to the NAA was merely for show.
“It is just the PM’s speech, what we want to see is real action from the government,” he said.
Chhay, who has been critical of the NAA reports for their lack of detail, said the auditing body lacked independence and was toothless when requesting information from ministries.
“If [Hun Sen] wants to make [the report] clear, he has to hold a council of ministers meeting to set the mechanism and policy for those ministries or institutions to release all the details to report to the NAA,” he said.