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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Corruption probe of official winds up

Corruption probe of official winds up

Agriculture officials in Kampong Chhnang are alleging that their provincial director treated and spent department money as if it grew on trees.

Between November 28 and December 17, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries interviewed about 50 people who now or in the past worked under Kampong Chhnang provincial agriculture department director Ngarn Nany, said Ngin Hun, the department’s deputy director.

“The inspectors have finished the interrogation of the involved officials,” Hun told the Post yesterday. “None of the inspectors could talk about possible outcomes of the investigation, since it is confidential.”

In early October, 47 provincial agriculture department employees filed a complaint with the Agriculture Ministry and Anti-Corruption Unit against Nany, alleging their boss took bribes for promotions, withdrew money from the ministry’s account for personal use and five other charges, Hun said.

On top of the run-of-the-mill palm-greasing Nany allegedly encouraged, plaintiffs say he pulled outright scams on his employees. According to former employees Tan Kemlin and Som Sarin, Nany pulled the same scam, which involved ministry-owned motorbikes, at least twice.

Both say Nany or his wife charged them – $200 from Kemlin and $400 from Sarin – to buy motorbikes, which were actually ministry property available for their use free of charge.

“After [Nany’s wife] took the money from me, she ordered me to write a contract confirming that I got the motorbike for free,” Sarin said. “I did not agree with that since she already took my money.”

Sarin, who has now retired, was ordered to return his bike to the ministry since – through the course of the investigation – investigators determined the vehicle to be government property. Out $400 and a motorbike, Sarin said he believes the government should pay him at least $200 if they repossess the moto.

Nany yesterday said he faced similar accusations in 2011, but was not prosecuted. He said he possesses documents that he expects will exonerate him of any wilful misconduct.

“I will take responsibility if I have made any mistake.”

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