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ACU probes marriage ‘bribes’

The Anti-Corruption Unit has called on Pol Pithey, director of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department, to clarify accusations that members of his department demanded bribes from Khmer women seeking licences to marry foreign men.

In a letter issued on March 29 by ACU deputy president Kheang Seng, the unit told Pithey it had received complaints that anti-human trafficking police had solicited unofficial payments of more than $100 from people who applied for wedding certificates for foreigners or Khmers overseas, then making them wait months.

“To have a clear basis in resolving this irregularity, please Mr President of the Department, make a clarification in writing . . . to the Anti-Corruption Unit as soon as possible,” the letter read.

When contacted yesterday, Pithey said he had sent a letter to the ACU on Wednesday maintaining he had nothing to do with the allegat-ions and reminding ACU officials that many departments were involved with the issue.

The Anti-Human Trafficking Department investigated marriages between Cambodian brides and foreign men to ensure Cambodian women were not being trafficked, he said.

“We have also done the research. This is not involved with my [department],” Pithey said. “Whoever did this has to be held responsible.”

He also questioned why the ACU had singled out the anti-trafficking body, given the number of other departments that oversaw such marriages, but reiterated: “There is no problem.”

Pithey said he would take pre-emptive measures to prevent wrongdoing by posting his phone number in relevant departments so couples could contact him if they encountered a problem.

ACU representatives could not be reached.

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