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Lay Marivo is out as head of Telecom Cambodia. Courtesy RFA
Lay Marivo is out as head of Telecom Cambodia. Courtesy RFA

Telecoms boss out in probe

A probe into the embezzlement of $230,000 from Telecom Cambodia (TC) has claimed its first two scalps, with the state-owned body’s director general and board chairman fired for mismanagement.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPTC) announced that Lay Marivo, TC director general, had been “terminated” from his position, which would fall temporarily to deputy director general Sorn Vy.

Marivo – who called for the investigation in the first place in September when he accused his accounting staff of taking the cash – was also sacked as a “government delegate”.

The head of TC’s board, Meas Po, was also removed and replaced by Khov Makara, though Po, who yesterday hung up when contacted by a Post reporter, will remain an under-secretary of state for MPTC.

The sacking was prompted after a joint ministry and Anti Corruption Unit investigation found “serious loopholes” in the management work and leadership of TC leaders, which led to the “embezzlement of US$230,000” from TC, an autonomous state entity, which provides telecommunication and internet services.

“There is no clear management of income and expenses; no effectiveness, transparency and accountability, which led to the decrease of TC income, but a steady increase in debts. There are also loopholes, which led to embezzlement and some debts,” the statement read.

A TC employee, who declined to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the press, said yesterday that the missing $230,000 was taken from some $600,000 in loan repayments by internet service provider company NEOCOM, which has been paying off a $1.4 million debt in monthly instalments of between $10,000 and $20,000 since 2006.

“[NEOCOM] paid $600,000 in cash so far, but we see there’s only $370,000 paid to TC, so we lost $230,000,” the source said.

New board director Makara would not say whether the pair were suspected of pocketing any cash or of failing to stop its disappearance, or whether they would face prosecution.

“We don’t know how many officials are involved in this embezzlement,” Makara said, stressing that the investigation was ongoing.

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