A Civil Society Group for Social Accountability and for Transparency Asked the Anti-Corruption Unit to Take Action on Tax Officials – Tuesday, 17.8.2010

Posted on 18 August 2010. Filed under: Week 678 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 678

“Phnom Penh: A Civil society group for social accountability and transparency demanded the Anti-Corruption Unit to take action against a section of the tax collecting system for taking more money than what the invoices issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance state.

“In the morning 16 August 2010, a civil society group for social accountability and transparency organized a press conference at the Baitong Restaurant in Phnom Penh about their fight against corruption in the form of excessive tax collection for vehicles.

“The president of the Independent Democratic Association of Non-Formal Economy, Mr. Von Pov, said during the conference that every year from July to October, a tax collection is implemented countrywide by tax officials of the Tax Department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Kingdom of Cambodia. The collection is carried out in order to build up the national budget for the restoration and maintenance of public infrastructure, and all Cambodian citizens are obliged to pay tax on their vehicles, such as cars and motorbikes, though they suffer from the global economic crisis.

“Mr. Von Pov added regarding the tax collected by tax officials, that civil society groups for social accountability and transparency noticed that most citizens, who own vehicles, were forced by tax officials to pay an excess amount over that stated on the invoices issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance. He added that at present, 1,391,565 cars and trucks, and 11,356,398 motorbikes [the number of motorbikes given is unrealistically high – that means that about 80% of all citizens, including babies and the whole rural population – own a registered motorcycle; we assume the number includes a mistype and may be 1,356,398 – Editor] have been registered and allowed to travel in Cambodia and they are required to pay tax. On average, if a vehicle is required to pay an additional amount of Riel 2,000 [approx. US$0.50] to tax officials, that means Cambodian citizens waste about US$1 million each year. This is corruption resulting from public officials using their positions as public officials to gain personal gain, so that corruption does not refer only to the stealing of money.

“Mr. Von Pov went on to say that to contribute to achieve the second stage of the Rectangular Strategy and to promote good governance, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, especially the Tax Department, must supervise tax officials so that they work following the official calculations for the collection of taxes. Also, the Tax Department must punish officials who commit offenses, or collect administrative fines from them, if they collect amounts beyond the tax invoices, and the Anti-Corruption Unit must take measures in such cases.

“A Coordinator of the East Asia and Pacific Social Accountability Network, Mr. San Chey, said that even though invoices are issued by the Tax Department, still excess tax collection happens, particularly in the Ponhea Leu district in Kandal and Prey Veng. He added, ‘We will submit reports within one week to the Tax Department to take action.’

“After there had been such criticism about excess tax collections by tax officials, the Tax Department released an announcement on 10 August 2010, where the third point reads, ‘Before paying tax, please read the tax tables posted publicly and pay accordingly the amount set in these tables. If tax officials demand more, please report their names and ID Card number to the Tax Department.’

“The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, Mr. Om Yentieng, could not be reached for comments on Monday evening, but he used to say in a previous press conference that corruption relates not only to big money, but even 50 cents can also be considered as corruption.” Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2329, 17.8.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2329, 17.8.2010

  • A Civil Society Group for Accountability and for Transparency Asked the Anti-Corruption Unit to Take Action on Tax Officials
  • The Minister of Agriculture Called On Citizens to Eat Pork Again [claiming that the ‘blue ear disease’ of pigs does not infect people]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7036, 17.8.2010

  • Cambodia Adheres to Peaceful Positions; while in Cambodia, the Secretary General of ASEAN, Mr. Surin Pitsuwan, Asked Cambodia and Thailand to Be Patient [in solving their border disputes]

Meatophoum, Vol.54, #796, 16-21.8.2010

  • Cambodia Asked Vietnam to Help Solve the Border Dispute [with Thailand; according to a letter sent by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam – who is at present chairing ASEAN – to help either within the structure of ASEAN, or directly

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3960, 17.8.2010

  • Which Tax Officials are Punished for Forcing Citizens to Pay Excessive Taxes?

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #32, 17.8.2010

  • Cambodia and Iran Signed an Agreement to Create an Economic Committee in Order to Step Up Economic Cooperation [economic cooperation between Cambodia and Iran will focus on on tourism, the oil industry, investments, agriculture, industry, Iranian export of technical services and engineering, and the exchange of expert delegates]
  • Three People Were Killed and Three Others Were Injured by Lightning [Kompong Cham]
  • Police Burnt again Chicken Meat of No Quality, but Have Never Caught a Persons Who Owns It [Banteay Meanchey]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #238, 17.8.2010

  • Prosecutors [of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal] Appealed against the sentence of Duch, [the former Tuol Sleng prison chief, who was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, but considering his past jail term and the reduction of punishment, he will have to serve only about 19 more years]
  • Thailand Arrested a Cambodian Man Accusing Him of Spying [as he walked near a Thai military base; according to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, he might be released after there was investigation and a request for his release by Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5278, 17.8.2010

  • A Vietnamese General [Le Van Dung] Visits Cambodia to Consolidate the Military Cooperation between the Two Countries
  • Six People Were Killed and Ten Others Were Slightly Injured in Traffic Accidents [in Phnom Penh and Preah Vihear, on 15 August 2010]
  • The Club of Cambodia Journalists Reacted against the Detention of a Kampuchea Thmey Journalist [as he was detained just for a minor traffic accident; the Club of Cambodian Journalists expressed concern, and considers it as a violation of human rights, protected by the Constitution of Cambodia]

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Experts: Cambodia Has Not Enough Space for Garbage Disposal, while the Need Is Still Growing – Monday, 28.12.2009

Posted on 29 December 2009. Filed under: Week 645 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 645

“Phnom Penh: Cambodia needs millions of dollars for the control of garbage, while there is a forecast that the amount of garbage will increase by many more tonnes per day in Phnom Penh, in Siem Reap, and in Sihanoukville.

“According to a study by the Korean International Cooperation Agency on environmental problems in three big cities in Cambodia, garbage is a major problem at present and in the future.

“The same source added that by now, in Phnom Penh there are about 1,100 tonnes of garbage discarded each day; in Siem Reap 88 tonnes; but there is no figure of the amount of garbage in Sihanoukville. Anyway, the amount is probably not much less than that in Siem Reap.

“According to these figures, it is forecast that in the future, because the three cities are centers of the economy and of tourism, except for Phnom Penh, which is also the center of administration, politics, and culture; garbage will heavily increase, while even the current garbage sites cannot handle the present situation.

“The current garbage site in Phnom Penh is located in the Choeung Ek area, after the [previous] Stung Meanchey garbage site was full and then had to be closed. However, the new garbage site cannot take in the increasing amount of garbage in the city.

“In Siem Reap, the garbage site is at the Trapeang Thom area, and in Sihanoukville at the Koh Ta Thon area.

“Relating to garbage issues, the South Korean experts who conducted the study, said that to ensure the depositing technically and to control the processing of the garbage, the three cities need to enlarge their garbage sites.

“A South Korean expert, Mr. Yun Hee Kim, said in Phnom Penh in an interview in mid December 2009, that in Siem Reap, in Sihanoukville, and in Phnom Penh, the amount of garbage will increase, and it is necessary to seek new garbage sites. He added, ‘The garbage site of 30 hectares in Dangkao can serve only until 2013.’

“He added that in Siem Reap, a larger area has to be sought for the Trapeang Thom area. He went on to say that at present, the area, of about 2 hectares, can accommodate only 130 to 150 tonnes of garbage per day, while the amount might rise up to 1,048 tonnes per day.

“As for Sihanoukville, it is not much different from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

“He continued to say that the Koh Ta Thon garbage site covers only 8 hectares of land and has been operated since 1995. In 2010, the province needs a new garbage site of at least 18 hectares to prepare to deposit an increasing amount of garbage.

“Regarding the problem of garbage, an environmental official, who asked not to be named, said that garbage is a major problem that Cambodia is facing at present.

“He went to say that garbage control encounters many kinds of problems because of lack of funding, adding, ‘We are concerned about garbage bins, citizens’ knowledge, garbage sites, beautification [of the city], and about sanitation.’

“He said, ‘We can just voice our concerns, but if there are no funds, nothing can be done.’

“He continued to say that nowadays, also, there are many projects on garbage, including the plan to create garbage classifying bins to ease the work to recycle garbage. ‘We are seeking investors to recycle garbage, but no ones come yet.’

“He stressed, ‘Many foreigners are interested in garbage processing in Cambodia, but most can only promise something; like at the Stung Meanchey garbage site, there was a plan to build an electricity plant [doing garbage incineration], but now it is quiet.’

“According to the same official, so far, most of the garbage in Cambodia is not recycled, but he does not have figures.

“He added, ‘Talking about garbage in Cambodia, almost 99% is not recycled, because it is disposed in a mix. We recycle some types of garbage, but it is only when it is selected for compost or for scrap objects [of plastic or metal] scavenged for selling.’

“Concerning the recycling of garbage, the report of the Korean International Cooperation Agency said that as much as 93.5% of garbage is discarded at the garbage site, 0.10% is burnt, only about 0.30% is recycled, and 6.10% is thrown away disorderly [not at the garbage site].

“In Siem Reap, 67% of the garbage is disposed of at the garbage site, recycled garbage is 11%, and 22% of the garbage is discarded illegally. For Sihanoukville, there are no figures given.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5084, 27-28.12.2009

Garbage Separation Singapore

Garbage Separation Singapore


Prepared for recycling - in Germany

Prepared for recycling - in Germany


Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Monday, 28 December 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #372, 27-28.12.2009

  • Vietnam Will Invest Billions in Cambodia
  • Government Officials Announced to Provide Legal Shelters to the 24 Khmer Kampuchea Krom People

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #2135, 28.12.2009

  • Thailand Intends to Sue Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen at the United Nations [if his remarks affects the Thai government]
  • Samdech Euv [the retired Father King] Sent Letters to Welcome the Three Samdechs [the Prime Minister, the President of the National Assembly, and the President of the Senate] after They Were Promoted to Five-Star-Generals
  • Within One Year 210 People Died in Traffic Accidents in Phnom Penh and 1,003 People Were Injured [compared to 2008, 266 people died]
  • Phnom Penh Residents Complain that There Are Lots of Mosquitoes

Khmer Amatak, Vol.10, #705, 28.12.2009

  • The 6th Cambodian Editor’s Forum Called [on the Prime Minister to write to] the King to Pardon All Journalists in Detention [asking also that courts should not issue detention orders for journalists before court hearings]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #565, 27-28.12.2009

  • [Opposition party president] Mr. Sam Rainsy: The Cambodian People’s Party Is Afraid of Protests of People Who Lost Their Rice Fields at the Border, and Uses the Courts to Intimidate Them
  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)] Criticized Cambodia for a Development Path That Leads Workers to Work Abroad

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6842, 28.12.2009

  • Japan Grants More Than US$2 Million to Build a Center for Storing [Khmer Rouge] Tribunal Document with a Building at the Council of Ministers
  • Khmer and Siamese [Thai] Military Officials and Other Representatives of the Authorities Celebrated Together to Welcome the Year 2010 [at the border]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #76, 28.12.2009

  • Cambodia Will Receive Investments of US$6 Billion from Vietnam [to invest in power generation, food processing, fertilizer production, rubber plantations, and health care in Cambodia]
  • Two Soldiers in Preah Vihear Died from an [accidental] Grenade Explosion
  • Cambodia Angkor Air Achieves Profits [but no figures are given]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #5084, 27-28.12.2009

    Experts: Cambodia Has Not Enough Space for Garbage Disposal, while the Need Is Still Growing

Sereypheap Thmey, Vol.17, #1842, 28.12.2009

  • The Defense Lawyer of Mr. Sam Rainsy Asked the [Svay Rieng] Court to Delay the Hearing in Court [over the removal of temporary Cambodian-Vietnamese border markers]

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Construction Bidders: US$17 Million to Construct Health Buildings Is Stalled because of Foreign Advisors – Tuesday 3.2.2009

Posted on 3 March 2009. Filed under: Week 602 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 602

“Phnom Penh: A US$17 million loan from the World Bank to build referral hospitals at provinces as well as many health centers and posts has been stalled for two years, because of a lack of management competency of foreign advisors from LBG [unclear what LBG stands for in the original – maybe the quantity surveyor company LBG-NGT Corporation from Tuas/Singapore – but maybe not]. This was stated by construction bidders who attended biddings to implement this project.

“Construction bidders criticized that for two years, there has been no construction, but there were one or two biddings. Because of this slowness, the construction of up to 10 referral hospitals and many health centers and posts in most provinces, worth more than US$10 million, has been stalled until now.

“The same source added that though recruitment for the construction project was transferred to IPA [unclear what IPA stands for in the original – maybe the recruitment company Independence Procurement Agency – but maybe not] by the Ministry of Economy and Finance recently, this project still faces the possibility of failure. It is said that the trouble originates from the LBG advisors .

“The source blamed that the technical advisors of LBG are incompetent to do the managing, and furthermore, in the plans, there are no calculations based on standard formulas and on proper construction standards. This is a major obstacle for the construction bidders, and even though many companies had protested against the mistakes of the LBG technical advisors, there was no action taken by the Healthcare Services Specification Project of the Ministry of Health.

“According to the bidders, the project was put for bidding again for a second time at the end of 2008, but still there were not many bidders attending. There will be a third bidding, and this may be continue forever.

“Bidders know well that even if one or two more biddings are held, there still will be no bidders.

“Moreover, the rushed delivering of contracts for two projects, the Kampot and the Stung Treng referral hospitals, worth more than US$2 million, in mid February 2009 by IPA, leads to a loss of tens of thousands of dollars, because the price of the bidding for this project was 60% to 80% higher compared to the formerly calculated price.

“The source went on to say that the construction processes at most places have been stalled for years, which makes the expenses for technical advisors to increase by more than 20%, which is most highly problematic. Bidders criticized this and also requested that leaders of the Ministry of Health should check the contracts between the ministry and LBG advisors urgently. At the same time, they have to recheck the management system at the secretariat supporting the heath sector.

“Bidders still remember Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen’s former words, saying that substantial expenses for foreign advisor services were right. Bidders emphasize that this is not acceptable. Everyone knows that better health services in rural areas are desperately needed by citizens almost everywhere, and also in this priority sector of the Royal Government, which is to be strengthened. Thus, the above source calls on the Ministry of Health to thoroughly check and take action against any negative points, or any individual who wastes a lot of national resources, because all money to support the health sector comes from all Cambodian citizens who will have to repay the loan to the World Bank in the future.

“Regarding what is mentioned above, Rasmei Kampuchea tried to contact the secretariat of the Ministry of Health, and LBG, for explanations, but could not reach them.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4835, 3.3.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Cheat Khmer, Vol.1, #29, 3.3.2009

  • Co-Lawyers of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Nuon Chea Ask the Khmer Rouge Tribunal to Question [former King] Samdech Sihanouk, [Prime Minister and Vice-President of the Cambodian People’s Party – CPP] Hun Sen, [President of the Senate and President of the CPP] Chea Sim and [President of the National Assembly and Honorary President of the CPP] Heng Samrin [because they were former leaders with high positions in the Khmer Rouge regime]
  • Mr. Sam Rainsy Seeks Intervention by the Inter-Parliamentary Union to Restore His Immunity

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #129, 3.3.2009

  • Thailand Provides Baht 1.4 Billion Loan [approx. US$39 million] to Cambodia to Construct Road 68 from Ou Smach [in Oddar Meanchey] to Siem Reap
  • In 2010, Cambodia Will Host Military Exercises between ASEAN and the United States of America [according commander-in-chief Pol Sarouen]
  • Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Praises [anti-government] Red-Shirt Demonstrators for Not Causing Violence [during the ASEAN summit]

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1887, 3.3.2009

  • Former Khmer Rouge Fist Lady [Ieng Thirith] Puts All Blame on Nuon Chea [during a hearing on 24 February 2009]
  • Troops at the Preah Vihear Region Face Serious Shortage of Water [because water in ponds or from a waterfall dry out]

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #353, 3.3.2009

  • Bilateral Talks about Khmer-Siamese [Thai] Border Disputes Will Be Held in April 2009; Khmer Troops Arrested a Thai Soldier with a Mine in Khmer Territory Who Planned to Plant a Mine Near [Khmer] Barracks [Anlong Veng, Oddar Meanchey]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6592, 3.3.2009

  • Problems Faced by the City: Crimes, Sexual Problems, Traffic, Orders, Land Disputes, Flooding, and Public Services
  • Because Repeatedly Being Asked for Land, an Old Man Could Not Bare It and Took a Machete to Behead His Son [he was arrested, Kompong Cham]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4835, 3.3.2009

  • Bidding Constructers: US$17 Million Plan to Construct Health Buildings Is Stalled by Foreign Advisors
  • Cambodian Government Seeks Solutions [with Thailand] so that Khmer Agricultural Products Can Be Exported to Thai Markets
  • The Ministry of Meteorology and Water Resources Forecasts that This Year Cambodia Might Have a Drought

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