Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A Quiet Banker



A Quiet Banker

A Quiet Banker

World Bank Cambodia Country Director Ian Porter's response (PPPost, Issue 14/08,

April 22-May 5, 2005) to my piece regarding demobilization (PPPost, Issue 14/05,

March 11-24, 2005) was in several respects thoroughly predictable. Critics of Bank

projects were, as always, characterized as impatient, naive, opposed to due process,

and unaware that many problematic issues lay "outside the Bank's mandate."

The surprise in Mr. Porter's response was his willingness to make my main point even

more skillfully than I had. His brief homily on the difficulties of working in Cambodia

was followed by a laundry list of the Bank's current anticorruption projects and

a recycled description of the investigation into fraudulent procurement. But the

main issue I raised - that of World Bank staff members' culpability in the project's

many problems - went wholly unaddressed. Had Mr. Porter nothing to say about the

twisted imperatives that led to the project? No response to some of his staff members'

clearly lax attitudes on fraud? Not enough humility to admit that some of the problems

that brought the project down were ones that had been brought to the Bank's attention

years in advance? I find Mr. Porter's silence not just deafening but damning.

Mr. Porter was willing to acknowledge that "the project ... [ran] into difficulties."

But apparently no one at the Bank was or is responsible for those difficulties, and

therefore none of its staff members has had to suffer any adverse consequences. In

fact, many of those who worked on the project have been retained by or promoted within

the Bank; others now run firms that are eligible for lucrative Bank contracts; another

is now her country's Finance Minister. It would appear that the Cambodian government

has found a perfect partner in its efforts to build a transparent, meritocratic,

fiscally responsible regime.

Sophie Richardson

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.