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Senior official hit with corruption complaint

Allegations that a senior government official in the Ministry of Planning stole thousands of dollars have been levelled in a complaint signed by more than 20 officials. 

The complaint, which will be sent to Planning Minister Chhay Than, alleges that Ministry of Planning economic statistics department director Mech Kanthul has been abusing his position to benefit his family while exploiting those working underneath him.

One of the 24 officials who signed the complaint but asked not to be named alleged yesterday that Mech Kanthul lied about spending in order to steal money from his department.

“We cannot know 100 per cent evidence of [his corruption]. He cleaned his corruption very well. We just know through invoices for the purchase of materials that he inflated spending,” the source said.

“We have written to Senior Minister [Chhay Than] three times, but we still have not received a result. He just told us to wait first,” he said.

Mech Kanthul could not be reached for comment yesterday, but In Saroeung, secretary of state at the Ministry of Planning, said he had received the previous complaints but that the issue was not under his duties.

“I also could not contact him, his telephone was off. He is maybe involved as accused,” he said.

Chhay Than could not be reached by the Post for comment yesterday.

But the director of the National Institute of Statistics, San Sy Than, defended Mech Kanthul, claiming the officials who filed the complaint were resentful that they were made to work hard for low salaries.

“I don’t support their corruption accusations. KPMG has always audited [the department] every year. He also has a lot of advantages. I don’t side with any party,” he said.

He conceded that there was some validity to some of the concerns raised without identifying specific points, but said he would address these minor points next month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meas Sokchea at meas.sokchea@phnompenhpost.com

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