Prime Minister Hun Sen described Global Witness as ignorant, stupid and crazy on Friday after the anti-corruption NGO criticized the World Economic Forum for allowing the premier to host an investment event at this year’s conference in Switzerland.
In a news release on Wednesday, Global Witness urged the forum to ban Mr. Hun Sen from hosting the event aimed at attracting new overseas investment, accusing his government of systematically quashing political opposition “through the murder, torture and arbitrary imprisonment of critics.”
“The Davos summit claims to be ‘committed to improving the state of the world’. If this is true, it should close its doors to despots like Hun Sen,” a Global Witness spokeswoman is quoted as saying.
On Friday, Mr. Hun Sen took to Facebook to rail against what he perceived as the organization’s ignorance of world politics. He wrote that he was sending “a message to Global Witness and its cliques to stop this ignorance and stupidity.”
“The President or the Prime Minister work together like this. That’s the normal routine of the relationship between state and state. If the brain is not going crazy yet, [you] should go to school and learn more to not oppose me in this crazy way,” he wrote.
This is the latest in a long line of spats between Mr. Hun Sen and Global Witness, which was invited to monitor Cambodia’s efforts to curb the illegal logging trade before being kicked out of the country in 2005 after issuing a damning report linking the prime minister’s family to the racket.
In its most recent report on Cambodia, “Hostile Takeover,” Global Witness describes the Hun family’s significant shares in more than 100 companies with a combined capital of over $200 million in sectors spanning the economy, from forestry to finance. It calls the holdings “the tip of the iceberg,” with far more wealth likely hiding behind shell companies and fake names in a country where corruption is rampant.
The family was quick to retaliate, with the prime minister’s children accusing independent media of colluding with Global Witness in an effort to tarnish their father’s name. In his latest response to the group, Mr. Hun Sen again said the impetus for the Global Witness’s report on logging in 2005 was to redirect attention from a sex scandal within the organization.
A representative for Global Witness declined to comment on Mr. Hun Sen’s response.
naren@cambodiadaily.com
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