The Ministry of Interior has launched an investigation into the opposition CNRP’s funding sources after the government-aligned Fresh News website posted a leaked document purporting to show that the party received funds from a foreign organisation.
According to the Law on Political Parties, parties are banned from receiving funds from foreign organisations and foreign governments.
The leaked document posted to Fresh News and its accompanying article, claims that the CNRP received $390,000 from the Serbia-based Centre of Applied Non-violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), which also conducted training courses for CNRP youth on strategy to topple the government in 2018.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment but spoke with Fresh News after the document and article were published.
Mr Sopheak told the outlet that an investigation into the CNRP’s funding sources had been launched after receiving reports that the opposition party had received funds from overseas to conduct political activities in Cambodia, violating the Law on Political Parties.
“We have not determined if this information is real or not, we are just researching if it is real or false,” he said. “We have asked the National Police to investigate.”
Mr Sopheak said the investigation will focus on determining if the CNRP’s funding is being sourced by foreigners from a foreign NGO or from a foreign government, and if the investigation finds the CNRP has violated the law, it could possibly face dissolution.
“Training of CANVAS is focused on strategies and methods applied in the revolution to incite public anger and reach change in 2018, in particular the teaching of how to struggle and establish social events, as well as how to set up a clear plan of demonstrations under the pretext of non-violence,” the leaked document posted to Fresh News said.
The article added: “The CNRP’s dangerous plan of conspiracy received $390,000 from CANVAS to plan and design a strategy to co-ordinate with civil society and youth organisations to reach the goal of toppling Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.”
Last week, Fresh News posted documents alleging several groups and individuals, including US freelance journalist Geoffrey Cain, former International Republican Institute Cambodia director Jackson Cox and US Embassy official Sam Downing, conspired with the CNRP to create a colour revolution.
According to a statement released by the CNRP yesterday, party leader Kem Sokha denied the colour revolution accusations and said the current political climate in Cambodia was foreshadowing that the 2018 national election would not be free.
“The party did not organise and did not prepare to act violently as the accusations suggest, either before or after the election,” Mr Sokha said.
CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann could not be reached for comment, but he dismissed all the Fresh News accusations to local media.
“The source of the CNRP’s funding is mostly from members and supporters in the local and Khmer population abroad,” he said. “The CNRP is not involved with foreign aid.”
The government has in the past few weeks threatened to shut down the Cambodia Daily newspaper over unpaid taxes, kicked the National Democratic Institute out of the country and shut down multiple radio stations renting airtime to Radio Free Asia and Voice of America.