THE Government has been defrauded out of more than $100,000 in a scam in which
used cars have been supplied to National Assembly steering committee members at
the new car price, according to an MP.
And as a bonus for the fraudsters
they also managed to get the Government to pay an additional $10,000 for each
car as tax.
The fraud was discovered by Sam Rainsy Party MP, Son Chhay,
when he went to the Huo Traco Ltd. Peugeot dealership on Norodom Boulevard in
Phnom Penh last Wednesday to pick up a vehicle entitled to him as a member of
the NA Steering Committee.
"The Steering Committee had some spare
funding, so it was decided that the money be used to purchase cars for the nine
members," Chhay said.
"But when I went to get the car I refused it
because it was obviously not a new car."
Chhay, a long-time critic of
government corruption and the sponsor of a draft bill for the establishment of
an official government anti-corruption board, demanded that the Huo Traco
employees surrender the documents about the vehicle's origin.
documents revealed that rather than a new model car which the government paid
$45,000 for, Chhay's dark blue Peugeot 605 was in fact more than seven years
"In the documents it showed that [my car] was one of five imported
in 1992," Chhay explained. "Three of the cars had belonged to the British
Embassy and two had belonged to CDRI."
Brandishing the car's import form,
Chhay pointed out how the original tax payment number had been crudely whited
out, with a new number written over it to match that of the attached tax payment
"That tax payment form is either stolen or an original copy
obtained fraudulently," Chhay said. "The government paid full price to the
company plus an additional $10,000 in tax."
On a visit made by the Post
to Huo Traco Peugeot last Friday, to seek clarification of Chhay's allegations,
Huo Traco employees confirmed that the dark blue Peugeot 605 in the corner of
the showroom was in fact Chhay's. However, they would not allow the Post to
photograph the car.
On a subsequent visit to the dealership on the
following Wednesday afternoon, a Peugeot employee assured the Post that no fraud
had occurred, and that the previous day Peugeot had arranged with a
representative of Chhay's to supply him with an alternate vehicle.
account of events was challenged later on Wednesday by Chhay.
"I sent my
driver to take a photograph of the car, but they wouldn't let him," Chhay
explained. "There's been no arrangement for me to get another
According to Chhay, out of nine vehicles supplied by Peugeot to
Steering Committee members, seven were 1997 models and two were 1992 models.
The other 1992 model vehicle was supplied to H.E. Chhou Leang Huot,
chairman of the NA Commission on Human Rights, who apparently took receipt of
the car without question.
"I don't know why he accepted the car," Chhay
says of Huot. "That's something you'll have to ask him."
Attempts by the
Post to contact Huot were unsuccessful.