Mr. Hor Namhong Will Sign an Oil Cooperation Agreement with Iran – Friday, 6.8.2010

Posted on 7 August 2010. Filed under: Week 676 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 676

“Phnom Penh: The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation plans to pay an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran from 10 to 11 August 2010.

“An Undersecretary of State and spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Koy Kuong, spoke to Kampuchea Thmey on 5 August 2010, saying that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, will make an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran for two days from 10 to 11 August 2010, and he will leave Phnom Penh on 8 August 2010.

“He added that the visit aims to strengthen and expand ties between Cambodia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as to encourage visits between leaders of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other senior leaders.

“According to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated 5 August 2010, in response to an invitation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia will pay a formal visit from 10 to 11 August 2010.

“The delegates include a Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Long Visalo, the head of the Cambodian Petroleum Authority, Mr. Hou Vicheth, and many other senior officials of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

“During the visit, Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong will meet with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran [see the Constitution], Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the chairman of Iranian parliament, Mr. Ali Larijani. He will also have bilateral talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, the Minister of Petroleum, Mr. Masoud Mir-Kazem, and the Minister of Commerce, Mr. Mehdi Ghazanfari.

“According to the announcement, the visit aims at consolidating ties between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to encourage the exchange of visits between leaders of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and other high ranking officials. Also, a Memorandum of Understanding about cooperation relating to oil will be signed.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2320, 6.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2320, 6.8.2010

  • Mr. Hor Namhong Will Sign an Oil Cooperation Agreement with Iran
  • Her Excellency Bun Rany [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife] Was Re-Elected as President of the Cambodian Red Cross for the Fifth Term

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7027, 6.8.2010

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Will Print Documents about [Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief] Duch’s Sentence to Be Distributed to the General Public [5,000 copies, containing details related to the sentence]
  • 1,000 People [representatives of the Royal Government, of local and international organizations, of the United Nations, and of ethnic minority tribespeople] Will Celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People in Siem Reap

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3951, 6.8.2010

  • The Number Khmer Migrant Workers to Malaysia and Siam [Thailand], Where Some Suffered from Torture, Doubled in Early 2010 [according to the Cambodian/Khmer Worker Recruitment Agency [no website found]; in the first six months of 2010, it has sent 5,776 legal workers to Malaysia and 2,409 workers to Thailand]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #231, 6.8.2010

  • Cambodia Soldiers Prohibit Thai Vendors from Selling Goods in the Area of the Ta Moan Temple
  • The Opposition Party Lawyer [Mr. Chuong Chou Ngy] Warned to Walk Out of the New Hearing [on 9 August 2010 on Mr. Sam Rainsy’s case over the uprooting of Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers], if Two Prisoners Are Not Present [claiming that they are important witnesses]
  • Vietnam Will Step Up Investment to US$1 Billion in Cambodia Next Year [in the oil and gas sectors, electricity production, mineral exploration, rubber plantations, and agricultural product processing]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5269, 6.8.2010

  • Carts Transport Wood move like for a Kathen Procession [a Buddhist ceremony with long processions] into the Angkor Chum and Puok Districts [without any interceptions from the authorities – Siem Reap]
  • Forty American Billionaires Pledged to Donate Half of Their Property for Humanitarian Affairs [according to: http://www.givingpledge.org]

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Sok An Clarified the US$28 Million Tea Money from the Total Company – Friday, 25.6.2010

Posted on 27 June 2010. Filed under: Week 670 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 670

Note:

Apologies – delays of the publication may occur until 17 July 2010 because of my international travel.

Norbert Klein
At present still in Brussels/Belgium at the meetings of ICANN – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, but soon again on the way – to Canada. I am not yet sure when I will be able to send the Saturday installment – maybe tomorrow, maybe only later.

“The Minister of the Council of Ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, officially provided a written clarification regarding oil and gas issues, as well as the US$28 million paid by Total after a Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian from Phnom Penh, Mr. Son Chhay, had asked seven questions.

“According to the letter of Mr. Sok An sent to the president of the National Assembly, Mr. Heng Samrin, on 9 June 2010 and released on 24 June 2010 to respond to Mr. Son Chhay’s questions, it explains that the Royal Government never provided licenses to any oil company for exploitation, but signed oil deals to allow companies to study and explore oil and gas resources. Companies with which such oil deals have been made by the Royal Government are:

Campex,
Chevron,
CNOOC [China National Offshore Oil Corporation],
CPHL Petroleum,
Enterprise Oil,
GS-Caltex,
Idemitsu,
JCL Petroleum,
JOGMEC [Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation],
Kris Energy,
Kuwait Energy,
Lunin,
Medco,
Mitsui Oil Exploration Company,
Petrovietnam,
Polytec Petroleum Corporation,
Premier Oil,
PTTEP,
Resourceful Petroleum,
Singapore Petroleum Corporation,
Total,
Woodside.

Some of these companies had given up and left, because the oil and gas resources they were researching cannot be developed commercially.

“Responding to the questions that Mr. Son Chhay had asked, ‘What policies allow companies to gain profit before they get exploitation licenses?’ – Mr. Sok An said that these companies are qualified, they have sufficient techniques and resources to explore, they have proper programs responding to the needs for exploration, care about the environment, have the ability to enter into competition, they can provide appropriate benefits to Cambodia, and they meet other points stated in the regulations for oil exploration from 1991.

“Responding to the questions, ‘What payments do they have to make before they get a licenses? What payments have to be made into the state budget? If there are such payments, since when have such payments been implemented?’ – Mr. Sok An said that the companies do not have to pay all money before they receive oil deals. But when a company gets a deal, they might pay some money, like reward money for signing, and money for a social development foundation. But they are not obliged to pay it, and it depends on negotiations based on the expected oil potential. In the case that there is money paid, like reward money for signing, paid into the state budget, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the National Petroleum Authority deposits it into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia. The money is the income from oil for the Royal Government of Cambodia to be used, and the use of the money is not dependent on the companies signing the oil deals, like in the case of the social development foundation. The money for the social development foundation is also deposited into an account at the National Bank of Cambodia, but before the money can be taken out to be spent on any projects, there needs to be a discussion with company that signed the oil deal, as, in general, that money is used to serve the development in areas designated when the oil deal was signed.

“Another question is, ‘Where has the US$28 million payment of the Total company been used, and where has this been published? What policies were used to determine the amount of US$28 million?

“Mr. Sok An responded that the amount of money paid by Total is US$26 million (US$20 million as reward money for signing, and US$6 million was for the social development foundation). The rest of US$2 million is for processing the administrative work which the company volunteered to pay for the long term. No money has been paid to any individual who is an official of the Royal Government. The government manages and uses the income from the oil and gas resources through the same entrance and exit [that is the national budget]. As for the social development fund into which the oil companies paid, it is not so much and it depends on the potential of the resources; the foundation had been established in 1995.

“Mr. Sok An made these clarifications in response to the Sam Rainsy Part parliamentarian, Mr. Son Chhay, who had sent a letter with questions on 7 May 2010, through the National Assembly.” Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #784, 25.6.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 25 June 2010

Deum Ampil, Vol.4, #513, 25.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Absolutely Firmly Ordered that No Primary Schools and Health Centers Should be Sold [especially those in Phnom Penh – previously, some primary school directors and heads of health centers had sold or relocated institutions for their own benefit]
  • The [SBJ] Bank of Vietnam Invests US$3 Million in Gold Minerals Development in Cambodia
  • More Than 6,000 Families at the Northeast Received Free Treatments from American Medics

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2284, 25.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Called On Citizens to Obey the Traffic Laws during the Inauguration of the Sky Road [in Phnom Penh]
  • Australia Has the First Female Prime Minister [Ms. Julia Gillard] after a Grim Party Revolt

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #784, 25.6.2010

  • Sok An Clarified the US$28 Million Tea Money of the Total Company

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.4, #690, 25.6.2010

  • [Prime Minister] Hun Sen Must Cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] to Arrest the Persons Who Made the Grenade Attack in Front of the [former] National Assembly, to Be Convicted like [the Cambodian Freedom Fighters leader] Chhun Yasith [convicted to serve a life time prison term for attempting a coup d’etat in Cambodia in 2000]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #6991, 25.6.2010

  • The 24th Synthesizing Report of the ILO Shows the Recovery of the Garment Sector [in Cambodia – the rate of export within five months of 2010 was more than that within the corresponding period last year; the rate of employment increased a little since 1 November 2009 and the rate of unemployment which results from the global financial crisis is stable – it is not deteriorating]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #690, 25.6.2010

  • Sam Rainsy Party Leader [Mr. Sam Rainsy] and Parliamentarian [Ms. Mu Sochua] Who Are Facing Arrest Will Attend the ASEAN Free Parties’ Forum in the Philippines as Honorary Speakers [from 27 to 29 June 2010]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #201, 25.6.2010

  • The Prime Minister Said that the Sam Rainsy Party Was Also Involved in the Unsuccessful Coup [by the Cambodian Freedom Fighters – CFF]
  • Thai Soldiers Shot and Killed a Khmer Worker when He Was Returning from Work [accusing him of illegally trafficking motorbikes across the border – the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Koy Kuong, condemned this fatal shooting and waits for an explanation from Thailand]
  • The Mong Riththy Group [Company] Invests US$10 Million to Plant Rubber Trees at a Seashore Region in Sihanoukville in 2010 [on 5,000 hectares of land]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5233, 25.6.2010

  • Samdech Dekchor Asked the Ministry of Transport of China to Invest to Construct [many] Roads in Cambodia According to the Built-Operate-Transfer [BOT]

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Petro Vietnam Signed an Agreement on Oil Exploration in Block 15 with the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority – Saturday, 14.11.2009

Posted on 16 November 2009. Filed under: Week 638 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 638

Apologies for the delays, which may continue into the coming week, as I am attending the UN Internet Governance Forum meetings in Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt with a busy schedule, in a different time zone. I try to be timely as much as possible.

Norbert Klein

“The Cambodian National Petroleum Authority and the Petro Vietnam Exploration Production Corporation, which is part of the Vietnam Oil And Gas Group, signed an agreement on oil exploration in Block 15 (XV) in the evening of 12 November 2009 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Phnom Penh.

“The ceremony was organized under the presidency of the Minister of the Council of Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, by the head of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, and by a Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Mr. Hoàng Trung Hải [Hoang Trung Hai].

“This agreement was signed by Mr. Sok An and by director of the Petro Vietnam Exploration Production Corporation General Director of Petro Vietnam Exploration and Production Corporation Nguyễn Vũ Trường Sơn [Nguyen Vu Truong Son].

“The deputy director of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, Mr. Ho Vichet, said that the oil sector in Cambodia attracts the attention from many international oil companies to invest in it. Practically, some companies have been offered the right to study and to explore oil in Cambodia both in the sea and on land. Positive results of oil exploration in the Cambodian sea in Block A resulted in trust about the existence of oil resources both in the sea and on land in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“Mr. Ho Vichet added that so far, the government has offered oil companies the right to study and explore all oil blocks, and each company is fulfilling their tasks at their respective blocks, following the agreements. Also, there are some companies signing agreements on inland oil on with the Royal Government of Cambodia and others are continually following up to invest also in the fields at those blocks that still remain unexplored.

“The head of the Board of Directors of the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group, Mr. Đinh La Thăng [Dinh La Thang], said that this is a new breaking of a record regarding cooperation in the field of oil exploration between the two countries. Block 15 is located at the northeast of the Tonle Sap Lake in the Cambodian inland, where oil availability is estimated for 30 years, and gas availability for 35 years, and the exploration will take 7 years.

“As for Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, he said that the signing of an oil agreement for Block 15 is the fist cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam in the oil sector, which is being considered by the Vietnamese government as potential sector to encourage economic development, and to ensure energy stability in the country. ‘The signing today marks a better cooperation between the two countries.’

“Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said that this agreement will provide a lot of benefits, like human resources development, exchange of experience in the oil sector, creation of new jobs, income which contributes to achieving success for the goals of the Royal Government to develop the economy and the society, as well to reduce poverty. ‘I consider the event today as a new testimony which clearly demonstrates a long term development of traditional, historical, and strategic relations inherited between the people of Cambodia and the people of Vietnam, especially by strengthening economic cooperation and of investment in the private sector.’

“The Deputy Prime Minister added that to successfully develop the oil and gas sectors, Cambodia necessarily needs joint cooperation in investment with highly experienced and successful companies. He said, ‘In this sense, I would like to highly assess the right decision of the Petro Vietnam, and I would like to express my appreciation towards the Vietnamese leader and government for encouraging and supporting investment projects in Cambodia. The ceremony today is not only a sign of a new success in good cooperation between the two countries, but I think it is also the opening in a broader sense for further investments between Cambodia and Vietnam. The Royal Government of Cambodia always supports and encourages different companies in Vietnam that are operating and plan to invest in Cambodia.” Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #336, 14.11.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 14 November 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #336, 14.11.2009

  • Petr Vietnam Signed an Agreement on Oil Exploration in Block 15 with the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority
  • [The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation] Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong Leads a Delegation to Attend the World Summit on Food Security [from 16 to 17 November 2009 in Rome, Italy]
  • [Head of the Cambodia Red-Cross and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife] Bun Rany Will Receive an HIV/AIDS Leadership Award from UNAIDS [on 17 November 2009 for her noticeable leadership in the battle against HIV in Cambodia and in the region]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2098, 14.11.2009

  • The Special Paratrooper Brigade 911 Was Withdrawn from the Preah Vihear Border Region
  • On 17 November 2009, There Will Be an ASEAN-Japan Security Exercise at the Sihanoukville Port
    The A/H1N1 Flu Killed Already 3,900 US Citizens

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #529, 14.11.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy: The Cambodian Authorities Listen to Yuon [Vietnam] to Suspend His Immunity
  • [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin Shinawatra Has Not Been Seen to Go to Meet with the Khmer King [after he was named advisor of Prime Minister Hun Sen and of the government]
  • [Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Vijjajiva Said that the [Thai] Embassy in Cambodia Is Not Closed, and He Does Not React against the Expulsion of the First Secretary [of the Thai Embassy] from Cambodia

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6805, 14-15.11.2009

  • Puea Thai [opposition] Party Delegation Came through the Poipet Border Crossing to Meet Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra in Siem Reap
  • Thaksin Shinawatra: In Order to Have Further Development, the Focus Must Be on Agriculture and Tourism, for Which a Clean Environment is important, and High Security Is Required for Tourists [speaking to Cambodian economists]
  • Cambodia and Laos Signed an Agreement to Exchange International Telecommunication Services [to connect international phone services directly to each other, as well as to other countries in the region]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5047, 14.11.2009

  • Cambodia Asked [other ASEAN countries] Not to Raise the Cambodian-Thai Dispute during the ASEAN-US Summit
  • Sam Rainsy Party Parliamentarians Asked for a Delay of the Session to Suspend Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [on 16 November on the ground that the complaint of the Svay Rieng Court over his participation to remove temporary border markers at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border is not a civil case, but a territorial complaint]

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Chevron Suspends Undersea Oil Exploration in the Khmer Sea – Friday, 20.2.2009

Posted on 20 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Too much corruption and bureaucracy at the National Petroleum Authority and at the Council of Ministers of the Hun Sen government motivates the big US petroleum company Chevron to suspend exploring natural oil and gas in Block A, offshore at the sea, 150 km from the Sihanoukville Port.

Note:

In the Yellow Pages directory for Phnom Penh, the Business Listings section has only the name, address, phone numbers, and an e-mail address of the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority – but no Web address, as it is usual for the entries of enterprises and institutions, and the section “Profile” of the company does not provide any information: it is empty.

See also the Mirror of 4.12.2008:

US Oil Company Pays US$120 Million to Buy Oil Exploration License for Explorations at the Bottom of the Khmer Sea

“An official of Chevron said that the company has finished exploring oil and gas at the concession region in Block A, but cannot continue to start producing oil at this time, because there is much demand for under-the-table kickbacks, and another point is that the price of oil now dropped down dramatically. Therefore oil business activities in Cambodia will probably start again only in 2012.

“Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy and Finance [and Permanent Vice Chairperson of the Supreme National Economic Council] Hang Chuon Narong said during a forum on Cambodia’s Future Economic Development, on Wednesday 18 February 2009, that at present, Chevron is playing a game of waiting in Cambodia after they saw that the price of oil was drooping during the last six months. Hang Chuon Narong added, ‘The accusation that there is too much corruption and bureaucracy in Cambodia is not true, and this accusation is just a pretext of Chevron to delay the production of oil from the bottom of the Cambodian sea.’

“Hang Chuon Narong continued to say, ‘At this step, Chevron already finished exploring for oil in Block A. If Chevron would continue their development now, the first oil productions would start in 2012.’ He said also that the scenario that he predicted is expected to produce income of US$200 million in the same year 2012. Hang Chuon Narong predicted that Chevron will wait longer before beginning to produce oil from the gulf in Block A, because oil prices are declining in a serious crisis both in Cambodia and in the world.

“However, an official of Chevron, who asked not to be named, said that the falling oil prices in Cambodia and in the world are not the cause for suspending the process of oil exploitation in the Cambodian offshore sea. The obstacle is that the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority and the Council of Ministers require Chevron to negotiate new documents for oil production, for oil discovered in Block A, since the previous documents were only for exploration, not production. Now, exploration is finished. Therefore, there have to be new documents for oil exploitation for production, which require to spend a lot of under-the-table kickbacks. Moreover, also because of the declining oil prices, it makes the Chevron Company reluctant to continue oil exploitation, and it might suspend its operations until 2012, to reconsider. If the Chevron Company suspends the process until 2012, Cambodia will lose the US$200 million income from oil exploitation between 2009 and 2012.’

“As for Hang Chuon Narong, he said that Chevron will continue to produce oil in 2014 or 2015, depending on oil prices – everything depends on prices of oil only [by implication denying that there is corruption and bureaucracy as additiional factors].

“The assessment by Hang Chuon Narong over activities of the Chevron Company in Block A indicates another breakdown of hope of the Chevron Company to develop Block A in the future. On 5 February 2009, the spokesperson of the Pacific Regional Office, Mr. Gareth Johnston, announced that Chevron is trying to find a solution to develop the complicated issues in Block A.

“He emphasized, ‘We are in a process to evaluate many development decisions for resources in Block A to get profits from this difficult task. Mr. Gareth Johnston did not comment on oil prices in the world, and how it impacts on the suffering of the company for the development of Block A. One barrel of oil was only US$34.92 on 18 February 2009, which shows how much the price dropped from the highest at US$145 in July 2008.

“Mr. Gareth Johnston added that at present, Chevron is not in any discussions about the setting of a date to exploit oil in Cambodia, unless a real assessment is finished.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #36920.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 20 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #22, 20-22.2.2009

  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Told the US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] about Politics Violating Human Rights, the Economic Crisis, and Corruption

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #120, 20.2.2009

  • Siam [Thailand] Sends a Delegation to Apologize for Artillery Shells Landing on Khmer Territory

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1878, 20.2.2009

  • [12-year-old] Brother Was Killed and [11-year-old] Sister Was Raped and Murdered Cruelly [a 19 year-old boy was arrested – Kompong Cham]
  • Khmer Workers at Houses in Foreign Countries Are Valued as “House Helpers” [not as “house servants” – according to the Department of Labor of the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training]
  • The US Embassy Donates 36 [M35A2] Trucks to the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces for the Second Time

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #348, 20.2.2009

  • [The Deputy President of the Human Rights Party and former prime minister] Pen Sovann Said that the Persons Who Have the Most Land in Cambodia Are [the Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An and [the commander-in-chief] Pol Saroeun

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6583, 20.2.2009

  • The Head of the Government Encourages All Officials to Become Public Servants Who Serve the Citizens
  • Construction Site Is Started on the Bokor Mountain Summit, and Two National Parks [the Monivong Bokor and the Preah Suramarit-Kossamak National Parks] Are Delivered to the Sokha Hotel and the Sokimex Company [of Oknha Sok Kong – Kampot]
  • Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Welcomes the First Hearing of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #36920.2009

  • Chevron Suspends Undersea Oil Exploration in the Khmer Sea
  • [Duch’s Defense Lawyer] Ka Savuth Claimed that There Are Murderers [who were chiefs of different prisons during the Khmer Rouge regime] Who Killed More People Than Duch Did, but They Are Not Called to Court

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4826, 20.2.2009

  • Duch’s Lawyers Are Criticized to Have Looked Down on Victims [they are criticized by the director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, Mr. Chhang Youk, regarding their opposition to include videos provided by Vietnam as new evidence, and regarding the use of the word “Vea” [something like “it” instead of “he” in a derogatory way, used by Duch’s defense lawyers Ka Savuth, to refer to Mr. Noung Chanpal – one of the children identified in the videos provided – in Khmer, it is not used to refer to adults, and it is not used except when older people call younger people like children, then it is consider to be rude]
  • Siamese [Thai] Police Arrested 40 [illegally immigrated] Khmer Construction Workers in Chon Buri
  • The Sasakawa Peace Foundation [笹川平和財団] of Japan Presents a New Goal, Focusing on Developing Human Resources in Cambodia – [The Foundation carries also an Interview with Mr. Chhith Sam Ath, executive director of the NGO Forum for Cambodia]
  • [A Khmer historian] Michael Trane: “Dinosaurs” at Angkor Were Sculptured through Imagination

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Global Witness Encourages Donor Countries to Use Their Influence on the Government to Check how Oil, Gas, and Minerals Exploration Licenses Were Given – Friday, 6.2.2009

Posted on 8 February 2009. Filed under: Week 598 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 598

Global Witness released a report for 2008 with big titles on the book cover ‘Country for Sale – How Cambodia’s elite has captured the country’s extractive industries.’ This book describes mysteries, corruption, and irregularities related to the provision of concessions to foreign oil, gas, and minerals exploring companies in Cambodia – but some high-ranking officials of the Cambodian government denied all Global Witness allegations.

“Global Witness, based in London/England, an organization monitoring the exploitation of global natural resources [‘Global Witness works to increase transparency in the granting of mineral concessions, in the flow of revenues from oil and gas companies to governments and in the trading of resources’], released a [72 pages] report on 5 February 2009 with the title, Country for Sale, in which it revealed many things about top officials of the government of Cambodia, allegedly involved in and colluding with corruption, jeopardizing forests and other natural resources.

“The report of Global Witness said that during the last 15 years, 45% of the land in Cambodia has been contracted out by concessions to foreign entities, and millions of dollars were received by the government from private companies to secure their concessions – but it is known that this money was lost and did not go to the books of the Ministry of Economics and Finance. Global Witness reports that its investigations discovered that oil, gas, and mineral exploring licenses were provided secretly to ruling officials and their relatives, and especially, that they are controlled by the military of Cambodia. Those top military officials are General Ouk Koasa, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces – RCAF – commander in charge of military development regions; Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh’s brother, Mr. Cham Borei; Prime Minister Hun Sen’s younger cousin, Okhna Dy Chouch or Hun Chouch; army commander, General Meas Sophea; a senator, Oknha Ly Yong Phat; a special advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the government, Mr. Om Yentieng; a senator and director of the Pheapimex Company, Mr. Lao Meng Khin; the RCAF commander-in-chief, General Pol Saroeun, and Oknha Try Heng.

“The report of Global Witness found that RCAF forces were deployed to guard areas rich in mineral resources such as in Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, and Pursat, and citizens’ land in those areas was grabbed through threats and violence. The report spoke also about the institution in charge of the oil and gas industry, called the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, an institution under direct control of the government – administered by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An

“Global Witness added that all ministries, departments, institutions, or authorities do not have any power over that institution, adding that the same politicians and powerful people involved in illegal logging now take control over the oil, gas, and mineral resources, and a handful of powerful people ruling the country have awarded expensive land concessions to private companies without transparency. Global Witness stated that mineral resources and the forest in Cambodia exist only once, and when those valuable natural resources are exhausted, they will disappear forever. All persons mentioned in the allegations by Global Witness regarding corruption, like some generals, oknhas, high-ranking officials of the government, such as General Ouk Koasa, Mr. Cham Borei, Mr. Dy Chouch or Hun Chouch, General Meas Sophea, Senator Ly Yong Phat, Senator Lao Meng Khin, and Oknha Try Heng could not be reached for comment. However, some government officials who provided interviews to Global Witness, claimed that the Global Witness report exaggerates the facts and is not true.

“Global Witness found that a special advisor to Prime Minister Hun Sen and the president of the Human Rights Commission of the Royal Government of Om Yentieng, has received a mineral exploration license quietly; he said that Global Witness has distorted information about the Cambodian government for many years, adding, ‘I think that if that organization Global Witness knows what is right and wrong, and has trust towards the respect of the truth, one could call it to swear an oath with me. If I am wrong, I would die, and if I am not wrong, it [Global Witness] would die. This would be a quick and trustworthy method for the listeners to judge. But I believe that if they [Global Witness] want to lie, they do not lack continuing lying stories. Therefore I think that this is not strange and surprising, because they have lied for many years already. They have distorted information about Cambodia for many years.’

“A Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Mr. Tea Banh, reacted strongly to the Global Witness report, saying that he cannot accept allegations by this organization without any evidence. Mr. Tea Banh added that those having mineral exploration licenses have them all legally.

“The RCAF commander-in-chief, General Pol Saroeun, about whom Global Witness has written in the report, accusing him of having received a mineral exploration license quietly, denied that he is involved as a businessman, he said that he is just a military person. Mr. Pol Saroeun added, ‘No, I never had a company. I never do business. I am a soldier. Why is Global Witness accusing people like silly? They seem to look down on people too much.’

“A secretary of state of the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, Mr. Ith Prang, said that the oil resources ow being explored to be exploited in future, have not yet produced even one percent of what is expected. The Cambodian government is not stupid in managing all natural resources.

“He continued to say, ‘So far, no oil has yet been produced, we just known that there is oil. Therefore, we have not planned how to use it, because no oil has been extracted yet. But the government is not stupid in distributing revenues of its resources.’ A secretary of state of the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Prach Son, said that many oil and mineral exploration companies in Cambodia are from foreign countries, from China or from Australia. All those companies get exploration licenses in Cambodia, but they are not allowed to take raw materials to their countries.

“Global Witness has tried to ask for explanations from government officials, oknhas, generals, companies mentioned in its report, but has, so far, not received sufficient explanations. It has not even obtained a response from Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen reacting to the report since it was released officially. There is only the Li Phoeung [?] company of China that provided an explanation, but Global Witness does not show the details [original unclear – actually, only the Swedish company Lundin Petroleum responded to the inquiries of Global witness – but for information referring to their website].

“The Global Witness director, Mr. Gavin Hayman, said that what the Cambodian government should do is not to provide new concessions too quickly to private companies. The Cambodian government should rather verify and conduct audits on the concessions already provided to those private companies. He went on to say that all donor countries should put pressure on the Cambodian government not to provide new concessions too quickly to private oil, gas, or mineral exploration companies, and to verify them again. The report has found that 70 companies have already received concession contracts and are exploring minerals. Those concessions have been provided without transparency, because there is no clear system in place for providing concessions, besides delivering them to high-ranking officials of the government. Also, he voiced concern about the loss of mineral resources for which concessions have been provided to foreign companies involved in serious human rights abuses in Cambodia, and the government should work effectively to control them.

“Global Witness showed in its report that some oil exploration companies in Cambodia had paid money to the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority, and that money was probably not put into the National Treasury. The report added that oil, gas, and mineral exploration companies are required to pay kickbacks for signing up to bids for concessions with the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority. Like a company from Indonesia, PT Medco Energi Internasional, which has spent US$7.5 million to the Cambodian National Petroleum Authority. Moreover, each company having stakes in mineral exploration according to contracts, is also required to pay taxes annually. In the first year, a tax with the amount of US$800,000 was required to be paid for each concession.

“Global Witness added that in 2006 and 2007, money was not seen to have been put into the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The report said also that an oil exploration company has been exploring oil along the Tonle Sap Lake, the biggest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, which produces between 40% and 70% of fish for the Cambodian people. The Tonle Sap basin is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Global Witness criticized donor countries for not using their influences through development funds to improve good governance, while the annual international aid for Cambodia is equal to half of the national budget.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #336, 6.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 6 February 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #13, 6-8.2.2009

  • The Sam Rainsy Party Appointed Ms. Ke Sovannarath Secretary-General [before she was acting secretary-general]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #336, 6.2.2009

  • Global Witness Encourages Donor Countries to Use Their Influence on the Government to Check how Oil, Gas, and Minerals Exploration Licenses Were Given
  • [One faction of] The Norodom Ranariddh Party Asks the Presidents of the National Assembly and of the National Election Committee to Remove [NRP secretary general] Mr. You Hockry and Mr. Sao Rany [from the other faction of the NRP] as Members of Parliament

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1866, 6.2.2009

  • Cambodia Holds the Third Economic Forum [United Nations Development Program, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and other development partners joined the event [Note: the member of the National Assembly Ms. Mu Sochua, was denied access by bodyguards; this surprised the German ambassador so much that he skipped to participate in this event]

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.2, #198, 6.2.2009

  • Military Police Surround the Mobitel Company and the Station of the Cambodian Television Network – CTN [of Oknha Kith Meng, for several hours] – Reason not Known
  • A Meeting of the Cambodian and Thai Ministers of Defense Will Be Held Today in Phnom Penh [to discuss border problems]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6571, 6.2.2009

  • Tragedy of a Farmer Family Who Rode a Cart Loaded with Firewood and Hit an Anti-Tank Mine, Triggering an Explosion, Killing Three People and Injuring Two More [a man and his two small sons died, his 6-year old daughter suffered serious wound, and his wife was lightly injured – Battambang]
  • A Car Coming Out from a House Pushed a [female] Student against a Wall, Killing Her [police are investigating, to ask for an arrest warrant for the car driver, also a woman]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3680, 6.2.2009

  • Real Estate Property of Ke Kim Yan Is Expropriated as Property of the Cambodian People’s Party [according to a high ranking official close to Prime Minister Hun Sen]
  • [Around 20] Military Personnel of the First Region Used Violence to Evict Citizens from Their Land [and threatened to shoot those who dared to protest – Recheanukoul village, Stung Treng commune and district, Stung Treng]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4814, 6.2.2009

  • The Philippines Reduce Taxes for Goods from Cambodia
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Promises to Update Information on Its Website [after there was criticism from the public; however, confidential documents will not be published]
  • Japanese Investors Are Satisfied with Plan to Invest along Cambodian Beaches [in Koh Kong]
  • The National Bank of Cambodia Signs an Agreement with Citi Bank for Training about the Bond Market [officials of the National Bank of Cambodia will be sent to receive training in New York]
  • An Official of National Television [TVK] in Pursat Was Murdered in a Guesthouse [a woman rented a room to sleep with the murdered man, and two other men who had rented a room next door are also suspected in this robbery and murder]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.16, #3481, 6.2.2009

  • The Tokyo Government Blocks the Entry of [Thai ousted prime minister] Thaksin into Japan

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.


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