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Principal accused of corruption in Banteay Meanchey

A provincial committee is investigating alleged corruption by a Banteay Meanchey school principal after teachers lodged a complaint, with the principal yesterday dismissing the accusations as politically fuelled fabrications.

Forty Serei Sophon High School teachers in Preah Ponlea commune thumbprinted a document on Sunday alleging financial mismanagement by principal Nath Sivlay.

Norng Kunthea, an English teacher of grade 7 and 8 students, claimed Sivlay used some of the $10,000 classroom budget for her own personal use and let a failing student pass to the next level after his family purchased cement for the school.

“The budget which is for classrooms, she uses it and keeps it in her own pocket,” Kunthea said. Soum Sokhon, a math teacher for grade 11 and 12 students, admitted he gave Sivlay 45,000 riel ($11) twice a year so she would bolster his hours on paper and thus increase his salary.

Sivlay, however, insisted the teachers were in the wrong, and maintained the accusations were launched out of spite due to her staunch support of the Cambodia People’s Party.

“They know I support Prime Minister Hun Sen, that’s why they treat me this way,” she said, adding she would always vote for the CPP since they had provided the school building. “Those teachers used the state teaching hours for their private teaching fee, so I called them in for a warning.”

She defended her decision to pass the failing student, saying he was only a few marks short of passing and it was a better alternative to him dropping out. His parents donated the cement to the school voluntarily, she said.

Provincial Governor Suon Bava said he would look into the issue when the committee submitted its report.

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