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1.3 trillion kip in state assets misappropriated despite inspections

Even though the government has tightened up efforts to combat corruption, more than one trillion kip in state assets was siphoned off last year.
Vice President of the Inspection Committee of the Party and Government Inspection Authority, Mr Soukkhamphet Heuangboutsy revealed the loss of state assets at a meeting hosted by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on Monday to disseminate the findings of the recent annual nationwide inspection meeting.
The losses resulted from misconduct by government officials in relation to debt disbursement, unapproved projects, and other violations.

It was found that 1.3 trillion kip was lost as a result of misappropriations but 771 billion kip of this has been recovered.
The committee reported that many development projects complied with the laws and regulations, while some projects had not been given authorisation and others had grossly inflated their costs.
Mr Soukkhamphet said the government owed 11 trillion kip for 1,443 projects, of which 464 valued at 3.3 trillion kip had not been approved by the National Assembly.
The state also lost 785.8 billion kip to 60 so-called ghost projects, where no work was done but payment was made.
Mr Soukkhamphet told those present that officials’ misconduct was reported by civic-minded whistleblowers, who detailed the illegal gains by the persons involved.
He said the committee was also tipped off by a citizen about misappropriation on a road project in a northern province. The contracting company hired subcontractors at 25 million kip per kilometre, but the contractor was paid 250 million kip per kilometre by the government.
“The contractor made 225 million kip in profit without any effort as he had to pay only 10 percent of the contracted cost,” Mr Soukkhamphet said, adding that this resulted in poor road quality.
The law does not give provincial and district governors the right to authorise mining activities, but some did so, he added.
Some village authorities permitted businessmen to carry out logging activities in exchange for development projects such as school construction,  Some provincial authorities released more than 100 billion kip in state money as loans to individuals, and some 50 billion kip has been recovered.
“The problem is how to recover the remaining money if the borrower has no property,” he said.
Also speaking at the meeting, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara briefed Mr Soukkhamphet and others present about efforts by the ministry’s Party Committee to carry out inspections.
He said the Party inspection committee at every level had inspected government investment projects for the sector’s infrastructure from the early stages, working closely with the Government Inspection Authority and the State Audit Organisation to check for irregularities on the part of civil servants and Party members.
He acknowledged some deficiencies such as the provision of information on foreign and international organisation support projects, and violation of the law by some budgetary units and civil servants. 

 

By Somxay Sengdara
(Latest Update
March 28,
2018


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