Allegations of nepotism are swirling around the pending appointment of a new chief of office at Pailin province’s Department of Public Works and Transportation.
Current department director Den Kim, who is due to retire in 2017, has submitted his son Dara’s name to Provincial Governor Keut Sothea for consideration for the position of chief of office.
Seng Sovanarith, a local researcher with rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that Kim’s decision to appoint his son had provoked ire among other employees, who feel that more experienced and qualified employees were being passed over for promotion.
However, Dara said yesterday that, being in possession of a master’s degree, he was the most qualified candidate for the position. Kim also noted that many of his employees are illiterate and that Dara has been employed by the department for more than four years.
But, echoing local media reports, Sovanarith insisted the director had been “corrupted” and that he “only recruits his family members”. The same reports claimed the director currently had six family members employed at the department, something Kim denied.
“Some news outlets wrote unpleasant things about me, saying that I only recruit my family members. But in fact, only two of my children have been working here in the department.
The others were just people I knew whose parents asked me to help by having them work in the department,” Kim told the Post yesterday. He said all family members within the department had the necessary qualifications and had passed the applicable examinations.
Kim also denied reports that his son’s appointment had roused tension in the department.“The rumours [in the news] said my staff was upset about my son being recruited. But they are not, we get along very well,” he said. “The news wanted us to have a war.”
The director went on to say that Dara has been filling the office chief’s role unofficially for a year now, despite the deputy chief – the usual successor in these cases – resigning just seven months ago.
However, a rubber stamp from the provincial governor is still required to make the appointment official.
Sothea said yesterday he will consider Dara’s merits thoroughly before making a decision, adding that the process is far too complicated to explain over the phone.