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

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there