Anti-Corruption Unit head Om Yentieng (front, left) and Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun (front, right) attend a meeting yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Hong Menea/Phnom Penh Post
The president of the group responsible for rooting out government graft said yesterday that his investigators will look into allegations of corruption filed by state-owned Telecom Cambodia (TC) employees against the director-general of the company, Lao Saroeun.
Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) President Om Yentieng told reporters after the meeting with TC staff members at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications that the ACU will meet with complainants next week and, if there is legitimacy to the allegations, summon Saroeun to hear his side of the story the following week.
“If we see that this issue is not serious enough to reach a criminal case, [TC] could resolve it in an administrative way. But if it is complete enough to send to the court, we will send it to the court,” Yentieng said. “And when [we] have received the proof, we will ask Mr Lao Saroeun to make clarifications, clarifications by letter or by inviting him to the unit to defend himself.”
Yentieng encouraged the employees to complain openly to the unit involved in Saroeun’s case, guaranteeing safety for all of them and even promising to provide bodyguards or police to guard the homes of anyone who felt endangered.
TC staff members have accused Saroeun of living a lavish lifestyle at the same time money has gone missing.
“We just filed a complaint to investigate, but how much money was lost we don’t know. We just know that the revenue has decreased far from usual; it is an irregularity,” said Tim Channarith, a TC employee.
He added that the company had received a request that employees attend the session with the ACU to educate them on the anti-corruption law after they complained to the anti-graft unit about Saroeun and demonstrated against him on Februrary 13, demanding his removal. Saroeun is on leave.
After the meeting, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun sought to reassure staff members. “What all of you have complained, I have received. Please, all of you, be quiet. Please have confidence in me, I’m neutral,” Khun said.
TC employees said they agreed to wait for the outcome, though some made suggestions on how to resolve the situation.
“If there is a newcomer to replace [Saroeun], that would be successful,” Mom Rin, an employee, said.