The UN’s Contracting Conundrum

United Nations - New Naratif

The US embassy nicknamed him Mr Rough Stuff. His business empire has been featured in numerous human rights and conservation reports for its alleged role in forced evictions and industrial-scale timber smuggling, and he’s cosy with a ruling party that’s been accused of much worse. So why is the United Nations doing business with Kith Meng?

The simple answer is this: prior to being informed by New Naratif, they didn’t know they were. Meng’s Royal Group of companies spans everything from security guards and limousines to energy, fast food and banking. Nestled within this web of companies is Telcotech, a telecommunications firm 100% owned by Ezecom, itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Group.

Between 2014 and 2017, the UN issued purchase orders in excess of USD100,000 to Telcotech for the provision of internet services, video streaming, fibre optic cabling and other telecommunications services. The vast majority of these purchase orders were issued by the UN agency that oversees the international side of the Khmer Rouge tribunal. Other contracts came from Unicef, the UN Office of Project Services and the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), whose reports on the rights situation in Cambodia have mentioned the Royal Group on multiple occasions.

Members only

Log in or

Join New Naratif as a member to continue reading

We are independent, ad-free and pro-democracy. Our operations are member-funded. Membership starts from just US$5/month! Alternatively, write to to request a free sponsored membership. As a member, you are supporting fair payment of freelancers, and a movement for democracy and transnational community building in Southeast Asia.

Bookmark (0)
ClosePlease login

Related Articles