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Pocketed pay: Staffer says project boss stole wages

The provincial director of a land-management department accused of pocketing the salaries of 10 of his staff members for years while they were supported by a World Bank-funded project was summonsed to answer to allegations of corruption on Wednesday.

Ney Sophal, director of the Prey Veng provincial urbanisation and construction management department, has been accused of taking the full 80,000 riel-a-month (US$20) salary of 10 staff members from 2003 to 2007.

Much Sdan, an official working under Ney Sophal, claimed yesterday that he was sacked after he filed a complaint with the Ministry of Land Management in October 2010, but was reinstated after taking his grievance to the Anti-Corruption Unit shortly afterward.

He and nine other officials, all of whom receive $50 a month from a World Bank-funded land management project, were questioned for 10 hours by ACU officials before meeting face to face with Ney Sophal, Much Sdan said.

Ney Sophal could not be reached for comment. Anti-Corruption Unit chief Om Yentieng also could not be reached for comment.

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