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Cambodia: Report accuses elite of theft

Global Witness, a non-governmental organization based in London released Country for Sale on February 5, 2009. The report warns that Cambodia risks descending into a kleptocracy, alleging that large sums of monies paid to the government are benefiting the ruling elite instead of the people of Cambodia.

Vuthasurf reiterates the report's charges while highlighting the role of private companies:

Private sector companies also have a role to play in improving the governance of Cambodia’s extractive industries. So far over 75 companies are working in Cambodia’s extractive sectors, including some internationally known operators such as Chevron and BHP Billiton. Country for Sale documents how many of these companies have already paid significant upfront sums to the government.

At KI Media, Heng Soy posted an article from Voice of America. Comments to the KI Media post reveal resignation and anger. One anonymous commenter, like Vuthasurf, emphasized actions of private companies:

[I]f this is true at all, perhaps, the companies who bought the rights to invest or bought the monopoly are the ones to blame for encouraging and tolerated corruption.

Al Jazeera coverage includes an interview with Gavin Hayman of Global Witness:

Global Witness also published a report on illegal logging in 2007, Cambodia's Family Tree. The Cambodian government banned that report.

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