A THREAT to future international donor funding for the Cambodian Mine Action
Center (CMAC) prompted Wednesday's announced removal of CMAC Director General
Sam Sotha from his post.
"We feel the need for responsibility [for
CMAC's problems] to be taken ... to be responsible to the requests and concerns
of donors," Ieng Mouly, Chairman of CMAC's Governing Council, told the Post on
"If we wait for the completion of the [second KPMG] audit, it
will take us to September which will put some donors in a difficult position to
contribute funds because it comes at the end of their fiscal
However, Mouly made it clear that Sotha was getting what he
deserved. "After what has happened at CMAC, whether or not the Director General
has been directly or indirectly involved, he's overall responsible for the whole
of CMAC," Mouly said.
Mouly stopped short of confirming long-rumored
allegations that Sotha has illegally misappropriated CMAC funds. "I have to be
cautious," he said in response whether he believed Sotha was guilty of illegal
behavior. "I haven't got the final [KPMG audit] report yet."
insisting that he was not bitter, Sotha suggested to the Post on Wednesday that
certain donor countries had ulterior motives for wanting him fired .
don't blame anyone...but one or two [donors] have their own political [agenda],"
he said in reference to donor pressure to have him replaced.
equally enigmatic when asked whether his removal was the endgame in a
long-rumored internal power struggle between himself and Ieng Mouly for control
"I just want to say that I don't confirm that we had a power
struggle," Sotha said, refusing to elaborate.
In reference to evidence
from both a Ministry of Finance and a KPMG audit of Royal Government funding for
CMAC that he had misappropriated funds, Sotha insisted the problem was rooted
more in high public expectations of CMAC than actual wrongdoing on his
"I still don't see [that I've made] big mistakes," he explained.
"I've committed something good 90% [of the time], but 10% [has been] bad ... but
people expect CMAC to be good 100% [of the time].
expectations that he would fade from the public scene after departing CMAC next
week by confirming rumors that he was to become an official advisor to Prime
Minister Hun Sen.
"The Prime Minister will bring me closer to him," he
said happily. "I can advise on demining and contribute more [in my new