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Billions of kip embezzled in Savannakhet

At least 20 finance officials in Savannakhet province have been found guilty of spending billions of kip of state money on personal affairs, according to a report released this week.

The officials allegedly collected more than 5.8 billion kip from state revenue sources but did not hand over the money to the Treasury, choosing to spend it on their personal affairs instead, the Socio-economic newspaper reported yesterday, citing a report presented at a two-day provincial inspection meeting for 2016.

Some 5.3 billion kip has been recovered so far while provincial inspection authorities are continuing their investigations and have been tasked to retrieve the remaining money in line with the law.

Chairwoman of the Provincial Party and State Inspection Committee, Ms Bounyeuan Thitphoutthavong, told the meeting, which ended today, that the committee had also investigated the implementation of Prime Ministerial Order No. 15 which tightened up the regulation of wood processing businesses.

She said tangible progress had been made in managing wood processing plants around the country.

Savannakhet provincial authorities recently ordered the closure of 253 family-based furniture plants many of them operating without business licences, while some have failed to meet certain standards, Director of the province's Industry and Commerce Department, Mr Sithon Nanthalath, told Vientiane Times .

Some 166 plants were found to be operating without business licences, while 87 businesses approved by district authorities failed to meet other required standards.

The department recently carried out bidding to sell more than 716 cubic metres of confiscated wood that had been logged illegally. More than 1.3 billion kip was earned from the auction.

In addition to the management of wood processing businesses, Ms Bounyeuan told the meeting that her committee had also inspected the payment of debts. According to the Socio-economic newspaper, the inspection found that more than 2 billion kip had been spent on duplicate disbursements and that some of the duplicated amount had been taken back.

Ms Bounyeuan also said that Savannakhet had completed its declaration of the assets of all state employees before moving on to discuss inspection plans for 2017.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 30, 2017)

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