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

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and