Voluntary and Charitable Donations – Sunday, 16.5.2010

Posted on 18 May 2010. Filed under: *Editorial*, Week 664 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 664

In many societies it is usual that corporations, and rich and not so rich individuals make donations for causes they consider important for the public good. During the past week it was reported that more than US$7 million was collected as donations during the celebration of the Cambodia Red Cross and Red Crescent Society’s anniversary on 8 May; it is the largest humanitarian organization in Cambodia, having also individual Members, and Volunteers. This is an impressive organization which has collected an impressive sum. To see whether or not this is the beginning of a spirit of voluntarism in society, it would be good to know how much the same charitable donors are making available to lift up the economic situation of orphanages, to create and maintain scholarships for needy students from the provinces, to support organizations engaged in the promotion of awareness of the endangered environment and its protection, and many similar endeavors.

In many countries, the Red Cross is one not-for-profit NGO like any other NGO – it receives private and corporate donations, like other NGOs receiving private and corporate donations; often these are encouraged by special tax reduction or tax exemption regulations for supporting such causes for the public good. Over the years I became aware that many persons in Cambodia, dealing with foreign NGOs working in the country, are not aware that these depend to a more or less strong degree on regular private donation, often from people in the middle and lower income brackets in their countries, and not only on public money. But it seems to be hardly a usual feature that Cambodian NGOs, working for the public good, receive similar donations from those who have money, in Cambodia. If there are worthwhile examples, it would be good to have them reported more prominently, and not only for the Cambodian Red Cross and Red Crescent Society.

But whatever the source of such funds – it is usual that that they are accounted for regularly and publicly. One argument of the government of the Kingdom of Cambodia, why a special NGO law is necessary, was always that the finances of NGOs – as agencies handling social funds – have to be monitored publicly. Though NGOs have responded that they are subject to regular public audit already, and these audit reports have been available anyway, the request to make their financial records public was always among the main arguments to create such legislation.

Now it is all the more surprising, that the financial volume and the operating procedures of the Social Fund of the government, even it’s existence, referred to sometimes over the years, are not similarly transparent, and there are additional allegations that government representatives have received substantial monies, supposedly for a social fund, which cannot be found in any verifiable public financial record.

The present round of discussions was triggered by reports that an Australian mining company, which had operated for a limited period in Mondolkiri, is under corruption investigation at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, because it is also listed on stock exchanges in the USA. There are allegations that this may relate to payments to Cambodia. While the government was asked for precise, detailed information supported by documents, to be presented to the National Assembly, additional questions were added relating to payments from the French company Total. Some of the related, but not clarified pieces of information:

  • The Indonesian company Medco Energi said they paid US$4.5 million into a government social fund.
  • The Australian company BHP Billiton paid US$ 2.5 million as “tea money” – according to a statement by the Minister of the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology in the National Assembly.
  • Payments of US$20 million by the French oil company Total, paid as a “signature bonus,” are not publicly traceable.
  • In addition, some of the monies are said to have be designated to pay for specific activities in Mondolkiri or in Pursat etc., but different, related information, cannot be reconciled.

Now the Prime Minister gave the task to explain the situation to the National Assembly to two Deputy Prime Ministers, the Minister of the Council of Ministers Sok An, and the Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon. According to Mr. Phay Siphan, the spokesperson of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister “said that all revenues must go to the national budget.” Obviously that is not what happened so far.

Interesting explanations and revelations relating to the past can be expected – combined with the hope that the order of the Prime Minister will be molded into clear administrative procedures for the future.

Please recommend The Mirror also to your colleagues and friends.

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Saturday, 30.8.2008: Khmer Authorities Cooperate with the US FBI to Investigate Murder of Moneaksekar Khmer Journalist

Posted on 31 August 2008. Filed under: Week 575 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 575

“Regarding the brutal murder of Mr. Khim Sambo, a journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer and his [21-year-old] son Khat Sarinpheata, on 11 July 2008, so far the Phnom Penh authorities have not arrested the murderer or those who are behind to be convicted according to the law. The weakness of the authorities to find the murderer to be prosecuted makes the general public and some local and foreign civil society organizations strongly criticize the Phnom Penh authorities, because so far, the murderer still lives freely and is staying outside of the net of the law.

“Civil society officials and the general public have requested the Phnom Penh authorities to speed up the investigations to seek the murderer who shot dead the journalist of Moneaksekar Khmer and his son, and also those who are behind the murder to be punished, and also to know the clear reasons why the father and the son were murdered; is it for political reasons or other reasons? – so that the general public and civil society organization officials know the root of the story that led to the brutal murder.

“The reasons for the shooting of Mr. Khim Sambo and his son Khat Sarinpheata to death near the Olympic Stadium on 11 July 2008, while they were returning from their exercises, is not known yet, though it is being investigated by the authorities. Unless the murderer is convicted, the real reasons of the murder cannot be revealed. However, the authorities have not had any clear light that can lead to identify the murderer, as it is not easy.

“Because of complications to look for the murderer, the authorities decided to cooperate with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation – FBI – in Cambodia, to cooperate to seek the murderer and those who are behind them to be convicted according to the law. It is hoped that this cooperation will lead to arrest the real murderer to be sentenced soon, because the FBI has high skills in investigation and can provide ideas to the Cambodian authorities to look for the murderer who shot dead Mr. Khim Sambo and his son.

“A high ranking police official who asked not to mention his name said that yesterday, on 29 August 2008, the FBI in Cambodia met for the first time with the Cambodian authorities to discuss the cooperation to seek the murderer and those who are behind the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and his son. The first time meeting between the Khmer authorities and the FBI was attended by Mr. Touch Naroth, the head of the Phnom Penh police, and some other officials, and by Mr. Laro Tan (a Cambodian-American), the head of the FBI office in Cambodia. Both sides focused on the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and his son by anonymous persons.

“A police official said that during the meeting between Mr. Laro Tan, the director of the US FBI office in Cambodia, and the Cambodian authorities yesterday, Mr. Touch Naroth reported in detail about the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and his son Khat Sarinpheata, how the Cambodian police had investigated before cooperating with the FBI office. Also, Mr. Laro Tan was satisfied with the report about the investigation by the Cambodian authorities, and the FBI agreed also to cooperate with the Cambodian authorities.

“The police official continued to say that Mr. Laro Tan responded that he will also ask the director of the FBI in the United States to offer two experts – one for investigations, and the other for drafting a ‘wanted’ circular with a sketch of the face of the suspect, and he is also an expert in performing autopsies

“The cooperation between the Phnom Penh authorities and the US FBI to investigate the murder of Mr. Khim Sambo and of his son Khat Sarinpheata was welcomed by civil society organization officials and by the general public, and it is hoped it will help to find the murderers and those who are behind them to be convicted soon.” Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3552, 30.8.2008

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 30 August 2008


Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.7, #1733, 30.8.2008

  • Primary Investigation Says Murder of Moneaksekar Khmer Journalist Is for Rancor against His Son [who was also murdered. – Why is this so reported? Because a policeman said it might be so]
  • While Prices of Goods Are Going Up, Khmer Rat Meat Is Best-Selling
  • All Kinds of Trees and Wildlife at Kirirom National Park Are Endangered [because preservation officials there allow illegal logging and hunting – Kompong Speu]


Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.2, #233, 30.8.2008

  • Kampuchea Krom Associations and Organizations Ask for Permission from Yuon [Vietnamese] Embassy to Visit Mr. Tim Sakhan [who has been defrocked on the accusation of having perpetrated an offense against the Buddhist law, because he was accused to have destroyed the harmony between Vietnam and Cambodia – he is now seriously ill and kept in house arrest in Vietnam]
  • Strongman [Prime Minister Hun Sen] Pushes Prince Ranariddh to Be at a Dead End Road, Forcing Him to Swallow His Saliva [to change his mind against his own will – by urging him to return to Funcinpec again]


Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #86, 30.8.2008

  • Municipal Police Does Not Take Action against Traffic Jams


Koh Santepheap, Vol.41, #6437, 30-31.8.2008

  • Authorities Recruit 30 Persons to Create Militia to Defend Chub Kokir Village [where Thai black-clad uniform soldiers – special Border Unit forces – threaten Cambodian people to demolish their houses – Banteay Ampil, Oddar Meanchey]
  • [Cambodia] Urges Negotiations Soon; Thailand Cancels Negotiations for Reason of Crisis [demonstrations in Bangkok]; Cambodia Cannot Accept
  • Constructions Spread on Prohibited Areas Next to Phnom Penh International Airport Fences


Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.15, #3552, 30-31.8.2008

  • Khmer Authorities Cooperate with the US FBI to Investigate Murder of Moneaksekar Khmer Journalist
  • Civil Society Wants Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodian to Be Maintained

  • Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.16, #4681, 30.8.2008

    • Siamese [Thai] Police Cannot Control Demonstrators; Demonstration Is Stronger
    • Four Cambodian Children [who were arrested on accusation of entering Thailand illegally on 26 August 2008] Are Released by Siamese [Thais] and Two Siamese Citizens [who were arrested on accusation of entering Cambodia illegally on 27 August 2008] Are Also Released in Exchange


    Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.15, #3397, 30.8.2008

    • Dispute between People and a Company in Kampot over Sand Pumping to Extend the Beach Area [the pumping affects people’s livelihood]

    Click here to have a look at the last editorial – some fundamental challenges into the future

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