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Mfone staffers paid another 30 per cent

Former Mfone employees yesterday received a second payment of the total $4.4 million they have been demanding in compensation after their previous telecom employer filed for bankruptcy in January.

Khan Sereyvuthy, senior legal advisor to Mfone’s court appointed administrator Ouk Ry, said yesterday that the staff received 30 per cent of the outstanding $4 million, “as we already promised them that they are the first priority whenever our assets are sold”.

More than 1,000 staffers already received 10 per cent, or $440,000, of their outstanding salaries in July.

Sereyvuthy said the pay-off was a result of selling Mfone’s core network assets – the mobile towers – to Chinese-owned Khmer Unity Network Communicate Co Ltd, without revealing how much the sales were worth.

“Under the deal, they will pay us step by step – this means that our compensation to employers will also follow this.”

Ry said last month that deals had been made on many of the failed telecom’s assets, including highly valued cellphone towers, but that it would take time to transfer them.

“With the left-over money, we will pay to our [other] creditors,” Sereyvuthy said yesterday, adding that the Chinese company has delayed their payments several times.

“We already informed them many times, but no reply from them. We hope that they will pay us soon.”

Pang Vuthy, a worker’s representative, confirmed the second payment by Mfone yesterday.

“We really appreciate with Mfone’s administrator who kept their promise despite delayed payments.”

It is estimated that Mfone accrued more than $160 million in debt before it went bankrupt. Corporate creditors include Norwegian-owned electronics firm Eltek Valere and Chinese telecommunications equipment provider Huawei Technologies.

Kouy Thunna, a lawyer for Huawei, said so far he has not received any payment from Mfone.

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