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Global Witness asked to probe Kampot scandal

Global Witness asked to probe Kampot scandal

CMAC director-general Khem Sophoan has approached the environmental watchdog NGO

Global Witness to do a full and impartial investigation into scandal-plagued CMAC

operations in Kampot.

"We will send another investigation [of CMAC's Kampot operations] that will

be led by Global Witness," Sophoan told the Post in an interview on Aug 30.

"We have sent [Global Witness] a letter and must ask UNDP for additional funding

[to pay for the investigation]."

According to Sophoan, the investigation would begin as early as mid-September depending

on the readiness of Global Witness and the availability of necessary funding.

Contacted by email at the headquarters of Global Witness in London, Global Witness

Director Patrick Alley confirmed that CMAC personnel had approached him regarding

an investigation into DU3 but he had heard nothing further.

Global Witness is a British-based NGO which focuses on the links between environmental

and human rights abuses.

"I said we would be interested [in leading a DU3 investigation] because it's

an important issue, and although it's nothing directly to do with trees, it does

fall in our general strategy of investigating corruption, trying to expose what some

really [amoral] people seem to be capable of," Alley said.

Sophoan confirmed that pressure to conform to the demands of donor countries to resolve

the irregularities in Kampot's Demining Unit 3 (DU3) prompted the decision to enlist

the assistance of Global Witness.

"It's a difficult problem," Sophoan said of the DU3 scandal. "There's

been no result so donors say they are still not confident [in renewing funding to

CMAC]."

The release of the "key findings" of a CMAC investigation into evidence

of widespread irregularities in DU3 uncovered by CMAC Quality Assurance TA Stefan

Carlsson in July was one of the demands donors classified as requiring "immediate"

attention.

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