PtG Article 10.10.2006

Showdown with corruption in Cambodias Olympic Committee

Cambodia has elected a new president of its national Olympic Committee to replace Prince Norodom Ranariddh who is accused of squandering the committee’s money on five star hotels. Earlier this year the country’s Prime Minister Hun Sen decided that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports should supervise sport in the country, not the Olympic Committee.

“I have no trust in the Olympic Committee and therefore I appeal to all federations to make efforts to develop their own capabilities by themselves. When we need to send sportsmen for competition, the Prime Minister will approve the federation’s request,” Hun Sen said in a speech at a graduation ceremony (link disabled).

Last month it became known that the national Olympic Committee plans to send athletes on a 10-hour bus journey to the Southeast Asian Games in Thailand next year while sport officials from the Olympic Committee will fly. A similar thing happened last year where official accompanying athletes to the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines flew first-class and stayed in five star hotels.

The Prime Minister Hun Sen says that the number of officials frequently outstrips the number of athletes and that he does not want to help them any longer.

“I have launched fund-raising campaigns to support the Olympic Committee but they spent it all over the place – nearly 1 million US dollars,” the Prime Minister complains.

Prince Ranaridd was also behind a strange decision last year to replace the Cambodian national football team with his own team, Khemara, at the Southeast Asian Games. 

The new president of Cambodia’s national Olympic Committee is deputy tourism minister Thon Khon.

“We have elected a new president and that means no once can spend the money all over the place again,” Meas Sarin, NOC secretary general, said to Reuters News.