Minister of Public Work and Transport Sun Chanthol has decided to terminate a contract with Korea Consultants International (KCI), the company that won a bid to repair a stretch of National Road 3 from Kampot province to Veal Renh commune in Preah Sihanouk province.

The move came after he discovered that the firm had not followed technical standards as stated in the contract.

Speaking during an inspection on June 5, Chanthol said KCI had already repaired over 30km of the total 54km, but the road is of poor quality.

“National Road 3 from Kampot to Veal Renh has sustained damages ... Besides contract termination, I've also relieved a secretary of state of his responsibility for this project. A new secretary of state will be in charge of completing it.

"For the remaining 20km, we don’t allow [KCI] to continue,” he said.

Although the contract is now revoked, KCI is still entitled to maintain the 34km it had already repaired for a period of three years.

The 54km stretch of National Road 3 from Kampot to Veal Renh is being repaired and maintained with financing from the World Bank, following a bidding process in line with its requirements, Chanthol said.

He explained that KCI won an $8 million bid to repair and maintain the stretch for a period of five years – two years for repairing and three years for maintainance. But after a series of inspections found that the road was not up to standards, the ministry requested another $8 million from the Bank, bringing the total costs to $16 million.

The ministry will now take over the remaining 20km.

“For the remaining 20km ... we will not rebuild it but only place one layer of alsphalt that we can temporarily travel on until the end of this year," he said, noting that this would cost around $700,000.

"We will finish the project [according to standards] after a thorough study and when we secure enough funding."