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Unionists face embezzlement trial

Unionists face embezzlement trial

Phnom Penh Municipal Court is set to hear the civil case against the top three leaders of Cambodia’s largest independent garment union from a former member who alleges the trio embezzled more than $90,000.

Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (C.CAWDU) president Ath Thorn, vice president Kong Athit and secretary-general Ek Sopheakdey will appear before a judge on July 2, union officials said yesterday.

Former CCAWDU member Um Visal alleges the trio pocketed $93,000 of a settlement they reached with E Garment to rehire 30 workers with 46 months’ back pay.

“He wants to put himself as leader of C.CAWDU,” Athit said of Visal, who has asked the court in a letter to name him the union’s interim chief. “We are very confident in our position.”

Visal yesterday said he was not sure what evidence he will bring. “I do not know about the documents or what evidence I have to bring yet, because everything is prepared by my lawyer.”

Visal and former C.CAWDU member Roeun Chanthorn also say they were forced out of the union because of their investigation of the alleged embezzlement. Current C.CAWDU leadership say the two refused to sign new contracts when their old ones expired.

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