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UN keeps corruption probe confidential

UN keeps corruption probe confidential

The United Nations Office of Legal Affairs in New York says a report from the anti-graft monitor at the Khmer Rouge tribunal is “confidential”, despite a pledge from a monitor earlier this year to release the report publicly.

Uth Chhorn, the head of the National Audit Authority who was appointed Independent Counsellor for the tribunal last year, said in June that he expected a report of his office’s investigations to be made public by the following month.

Last week, however, he said the government and the UN had decided to keep his July report classified for reasons unknown to him.

“The contents of the report are confidential,” a representative of the UN’s Office of Legal Affairs said in an email.

“However, I can say that the UN was pleased to receive Uth Chhorn’s professional report, which affirmed the value of the independent counsellor position to [tribunal] staff”.

In March, Prom Vicheth Sophorn, deputy director of the National Audit Authority’s Audit Department 3, said the independent counsellor’s office was in the process of investigating three complaints.

These complaints, he said, included an allegation that Cambodian security staff had been forced to pay kickbacks to their superiors, and two cases of alleged wrongful termination – one on the UN side and one on the Cambodian side.
Prom Vicheth Sophorn said at the time that he expected the report to be released publicly in “April or May”.
Although the agreement between the government and the UN that established the position does not stipulate that its reports be made public, civil society groups have pushed for transparency in the office’s operations.
“The most important thing is the process, that people fully understand what’s being done and have confidence in that process,” said Anne Heindel, a legal adviser at the Documentation Centre of Cambodia.
“If nothing ever comes to light, it will make people question the sincerity of the effort.”

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