Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Acleda sues police colonel



Acleda sues police colonel

Women walk past an Acleda branch in Phnom Penh’s Steung Meanchey district earlier this year.
Women walk past an Acleda branch in Phnom Penh’s Steung Meanchey district earlier this year. Hong Menea

Acleda sues police colonel

Interior Ministry police lieutenant colonel Pheng Vannak’s use of Facebook has landed him in hot water yet again, with Acleda Bank on Monday filing a defamation complaint against the official for a post accusing it of corruption.

Vannak – who has been convicted of defamation for sharing a Facebook post alleging a businesswoman had an affair with a military general, and is the subject of court proceedings over death threat sent to Kem Sokha on the social media site – was among netizens who took aim at Acleda over seeming discrepancies in road tax payments, which can be paid through the bank.

The December 15 post related to pictures showing two nearly identical Toyota HiAce vans, one, a 2015 model, which had paid 200,000 riel ($50) and another, a 2016 model, which had paid 600,000 riel ($150). Vannak suggested Acleda had taken money in exchange for lowering the price.

However, quickly after the posts began to circulate, the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s taxation department issued a clarification, saying Acleda had not made the mistake. Instead, the error was committed by Siem Reap province’s department of public works and transportation, which had classified one van as a tourist vehicle, which was liable for a $50 road tax, and the other as a pick-up truck, which needed to pay $150.

The December 16 clarification called on the owner of the latter vehicle to return to have his car reclassified and reclaim the extra money he had paid.

However, even after the tax department’s letter, Vannak continued to claim corruption was involved, saying he had evidence.

“If I am wrong, I am responsible. I will not run away like the bandit Sam Rainsy,” he posted yesterday.

Acleda’s complaint letter, signed by chief executive In Channy, said Vannak had made accusations without seeking information from the bank or relevant institutions. “It affects the dignity of Acleda and the reputation of the whole finance institution,” reads the letter.

Speaking yesterday, Acleda’s head of conflict resolution, Buth Bun Seyha, said Vannak would now have to face the consequences of his actions.

“He has the right to express himself, but his expression affected the bank’s reputation,” she said. “But we have not decided what’s next or the [amount of] compensation [to seek].”

Contacted yesterday, Vannak was more contrite.

“After the clarifications from the tax department and the bank, [I accept] Acleda was not wrong; I did not collect enough information,” Vannak said.

“I could say sorry, but the complaint has already been filed. The police have not called me for questioning yet . . . it is not a big thing. It’s not a criminal case.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants