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$2m missing: telecom staff

telecom cambodia heng chivoan
Employees of Telecom Cambodia protest in Phnom Penh, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

More than 200 employees of Telecom Cambodia demonstrated yesterday morning, demanding the company’s general  director step down and that the Anti-Corruption Unit investigate the company.

The strikers claimed general director Lao Saroeun had been involved in large-scale embezzlement, other forms of corruption and disrespect of workers throughout his five-year tenure and such misdoings had delayed the company’s listing on the Cambodia Securities Exchange.

“According to the report of 2011 incomes, Lao Sareoun and his accountant and financial director took $2 million of Telecommunication Cambodia’s income,” the workers claim in a public statement.

The statement goes on to allege that in order to cover up the $2 million shortfall, Sareoun, his accountant and his financial director counterfeited a report to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

This led to conflicting records of whether the company had made $29 million or $27 million in 2011, the workers’ statement says .

“Telecommunication Cambodia should already have joined the Cambodia Securities Exchange when the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority joined it [in April last year], but it could not because of corruption,” striker Mom Rin said.

“We need a new leader as soon as possible, because the organisation is a public enterprise of the state and has earned a large amount of money for the state.

“If [Sareoun] is still working, some of the money will be lost and the staff will not do their best work because he is a dictator.”

Lao Sareoun was not in the office during the strike and could not be reached.

Ming Bangkosal, director-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia, declined to comment on the protest, describing it as an “internal conflict”.  Koy Pum, chair of the Council of Telecommunication Cambodia and an under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, told the strikers he would discuss the matter with his Minister, So Khun, who confirmed the case was being considered.

Telecommunication Cambodia is one of two state-owned enterprises the government plans to list on the  securities exchange this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Yuthana at yuthana.kim@phnompenhpost.com

May Titthara at titthara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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