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MRC trains oversight officials in response to donor’s concerns

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MRC conducts training in Kampong Cham province on May 23. MRC

MRC trains oversight officials in response to donor’s concerns

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has begun training officials in each of its member countries to improve transparency and accountability. The new rules aim to reassure donors of the commission’s integrity.

“The world today is more regulated and scrutinised than ever before, every organisation must act to protect themselves from fraud and corruption,” said Umair Javed Imam, independent internal auditor for the MRC.

The training sessions will raise awareness among officials from the National Mekong Committee Secretariats of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in how to prevent corruption. The first session took place in Vietnam, with the Kingdom’s officials attending on May 20. Thailand – and then Laos – will receive training before the end of the month.

MRC secretariat CEO Anoulak Kittihoun announced plans for the sessions in April.

“Member countries and development partners have paid increasing attention and observation to these issues, and future funding is contingent on sound internal controls,” he said.

The MRC aims to be completely self-funded by its member countries by 2030, so accountability will also become increasingly important to the tax payers of the four nations.

“It’s important for us to ensure that everyone is bound by the rules, that we’re spending money on the right things, in the right way,” says So Sophort, the chairperson of the MRC Joint Committee.

“It’s imperative to have in place an effective, comprehensive framework for corporate governance, internal control and risk management, to safeguard an organization against all risks,” says Imam, who will lead all four sessions.

At the training sessions, discussion topics will also include: a history of internal audit, internal vs. external audit, what is fraud?, and whistleblower mechanisms.

“First comes the awareness-raising, then we’ll start to see compliance from concrete action plans. This may be the first training for each of these countries, but it won’t be the last. There’s more to be done,” said Imam.

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