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ADB 'disappointed' by use of aid

ADB 'disappointed' by use of aid

Rice distribution ends, tainted by rising complaints of mismanagement

OFFICIALS at the Asian Development Bank have expressed disappointment at the conclusion of the distribution phase of its US$38 million emergency food aid project, saying widespread complaints about village officials indicate that the rice was not distributed fairly.

Piseth Long, ADB's project implementation officer, told the Post Wednesday that the first phase of the project, which ended Wednesday in Siem Reap, did not fulfil its aims because of mismanagement on the ground.

"At first [the project] seemed to be well managed, but now it seems that we have a serious situation [with complaints], especially in Kampong Chhnang," he said.

"The project has not gone well so far, so we will have to take the complaints seriously," Piseth Long added.  

He said he was aware of 40 complaints in total, but that many represented larger groups of villagers.

"We will do full investigations into the complaints after the holiday next week. If people genuinely missed out, we may be able to focus on them for the next round of the project [a food-for-work program]," he said. He added, though, that this would depend on funding.

According to NGO groups, more than 1,000 poor families in Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Kampong Chhnang and Pursat provinces have complained to monitoring organisations, accusing village chiefs of registering only their relatives and political supporters.

"There has been a problem with village chiefs registering most of their relatives and villagers who have supported CPP," said Poung Sothea, an investigator in Pursat province for the rights group Adhoc.

"This is why people are complaining."

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