Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vietnam logging numbers being ‘verified’: official

Vietnam logging numbers being ‘verified’: official

A man transports a trailer load of timber through Kratie province toward the Cambodia-Vietnam border earlier this year. Photo supplied
A man transports a trailer load of timber through Kratie province toward the Cambodia-Vietnam border earlier this year. Photo supplied

Vietnam logging numbers being ‘verified’: official

Vietnamese customs data showing that Cambodia exported at least $121 million of wood this year are currently being investigated by government officials, according to Environment Ministry Undersecretary of State Eang Sophalleth.

“I forwarded it to the departments responsible and they are verifying the numbers,” Sophalleth said yesterday.

Officials from both departments – Customs and Excise and the Forestry Administration – were unable to confirm yesterday whether their offices had received the data.

Preap Kol, country director for Transparency International, said in an email that if the Vietnamese customs data are accurate, it signifies that the government’s January ban on timber exports to Vietnam “has not been effective” and signified widespread corruption demanding investigation.

“One can only assume that customs officers and competent authorities . . . allowed this trade to pass through their gates and [avoid] scrutiny in exchange for bribes or permission from powerful figures,” Kol said. “It is possible for the Government to investigate this case . . . and identify the customs officers responsible,” he continued.

“Once they have found out what happened, they should inform the public and hold the implicated officials to account.”

NGO Environmental Investigation Agency senior forest campaigner Jago Wadley said in an email that Vietnam should also take responsibility by prohibiting trade in illegally logged timber and requiring greater due diligence from importers, among other measures.

“We do not see any intention from Vietnam to prohibit illegal timber as described in our [recommendation],” he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • First case of coronavirus reported in the Kingdom

    Cambodia reported its first case of the deadly 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on Monday, Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng announced. He said medical specialists detected the virus in a Chinese tourist in Sihanoukville. The minister said Jia Jianhua, 60, travelled from Wuhan city, where the outbreak

  • PM urges precaution amid virus outbreak

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday called on all Cambodians to bump up precautions to avoid contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has already killed more than 50 people in China. The prime minister told the public to remain calm but alert about the possibility of

  • Gov’t slams NGO over 2019 corruption report

    The government on Thursday slammed a report that described the Kingdom as highly corrupt. Government spokesperson Phay Siphan dismissed the latest Transparency International (TI) report as “just an advertisement of NGOs to promote their own interests”. Released on Thursday, the report puts Cambodia near the

  • NBC’s digital payments to go live in next few months

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) will launch a Blockchain-based, peer-to-peer payment and money transfer platform in the next few months, its director-general Chea Serey told The Post on Monday. Dubbed ‘Project Bakong’, the scheme already has the support of 11 banks, with many more expected

  • Gov’t answers garment buyers’ complaint

    Some of the biggest buyers in the Kingdom’s garment sector have urged Prime Minister Hun Sen to address issues faced by unions and workers – a request a senior official said was out of touch with the situation on the ground. The letter addressed to