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Ministry to be grilled on sand exports

Suy Sem, Minister of Industry Minining and Energy, at a CDC meeting in late 2008.
Suy Sem, Minister of Industry Minining and Energy, at a CDC meeting in late 2008. Heng Chivoan

Ministry to be grilled on sand exports

The National Assembly’s anti-corruption commission will summon Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem to answer questions about an apparent $700 million discrepancy in sand exports to Singapore.

UN data show that since 2007, roughly $752 million in sand was imported by Singapore from Cambodia. The Kingdom has only reported about $5 million in exports to the island nation during the same period, prompting accusations of corruption.

Opposition lawmaker and commission head Ho Vann said yesterday that the minister must be held responsible for any loss of state revenue resulting from a failure to properly monitor exports.

“We want to have a clear explanation. Why is it different? And how many sand-dredging companies are there’’, he asked, adding that the commission would request a ban on dredging at sea as well.

Mines Ministry spokesman Dith Tina said yesterday the ministry would comply with any summons, but maintained that the UN data – closely mirrored by Singaporean figures – could not be totally relied upon, and welcomed any “reliable and useful evidence” of mismanagement.

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