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Mfone staff paid final wages

A motorbike passes the boarded-up office of Mfone in Phnom Penh
A motorbike passes the boarded-up office of Mfone in Phnom Penh last year. Heng Chivoan

Mfone staff paid final wages

Bankrupt telecommunications company Mfone yesterday handed out the final instalments of unpaid wages to former employees.

More than 1,000 former Mfone staffers received the remaining 30 per cent of their unpaid wages after the telecommunications firm filed for bankruptcy in February 2013. Since then, workers have received a total of $4.4 million in compensation.

Khan Sereyvuthy, senior legal adviser to Mfone’s administrator, told the Post that yesterday’s compensation was the final payment owed to workers.

“It is the remaining 30 per cent of our payment to more than 1,000 workers. We already paid them 70 per cent, this means that we have paid it all,” he said.

Mfone administrators made the first outstanding wage payment in July 2013, promising to pay the remainder by November at the latest.

Sereyvuthy said Mfone paid the wage bill after the sale of the company’s $9.9 million worth of telecommunications infrastructure was finalised.

Mfone sold its assets for bottom dollar to Chinese-owned Khmer Unified Network, a relatively unknown newcomer to the industry.

With the leftover funds and the sale of the company's remaining assets, Sereyvuthy said Mfone will commence paying back its remaining debts to creditors such as Chinese technology firm Huawei, which is reportedly owed upwards of $65 million.

“Our ex-employees have been the priority of our payments while other creditors are second,” he said.

Sereyvuthy called on debtors, including Viettel, owner of Cambodia’s largest telco operator Metfone, among others to pay up an estimated $690,000 in owed funds.

Bun Thoun, a former sales representative for Mfone, said he has been paid $3,000 in total. Thoun praised the now-defunct operator for keeping its word, despite nearly a year having passed since the first wage payment.

“It is what the company promised to pay us,” he said.

A previous version of this article incorrectly cited an earlier estimate of Mfone assets and incorrectly reported that there were still assets to be sold. Mfone administrators said the remaining funds left over after paying employees from the $9.9 million sale of infrastructure will be used to pay other creditors.

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