Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Envoy to UK aims criticism at watchdog




Envoy to UK aims criticism at watchdog

Envoy to UK aims criticism at watchdog

THE ambassador to the United Kingdom has accused Global Witness of pursuing “a ferocious politically motivated campaign against the government of Cambodia” after the international watchdog said a US$28 million payment made by a French oil company lacked transparency.

Hor Nambora issued a statement on Friday condemning the group, one day after it said the issue of extractive industries payments must be addressed when donors meet with the government in June.

“The people of Cambodia and governments who give development assistance have a legitimate right to know what happened to that money,” Global Witness said in a statement.

Eleanor Nichol, a campaigner for Global Witness, said Sunday that the group stood by the statement, and added: “The easiest way to clarify this issue would be for the Cambodian government to publicly issue details on this payment and others made by companies.”

Penelope Semavoine, a spokeswoman for Total, confirmed last Thursday that the company had paid a $20 million signature bonus in January to the Cambodia National Petroleum Authority and had earmarked an additional $8 million for a social development fund in order to secure exploration rights to the 2,430-square-kilometre offshore block designated Area III.

Prime Minister Hun Sen referred to the Total deal in a speech last week, comparing it to a payment he said had been made by mining giant BHP Billiton, which has recently launched an internal inquiry that some have speculated concerns its work in Cambodia.

Global Witness has been a frequent target of Hor Nambora, who routinely goes after groups and media outlets he accuses of being unfairly critical of the Cambodian government.

In his most recent statement, the ambassador said, “It’s time Global Witness was stopped in its tracks and forced to explain and justify its campaign of smear and hatred against the Cambodian government and Cambodian people.”

MOST VIEWED

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15