The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has detained a staffer from the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) for allegedly demanding bribes from foreign and domestic investors.
An ACU report released on Saturday said that Chhoem Piseth, who was involved in handling documents from investors, had demanded bribes in order to process business applications.
“The CDC staffer caused difficulties for national and international investors in the attempt to demand and receive additional money,” the ACU said. It detained Piseth last Thursday.
While the statement says that Piseth’s alleged crime “influences the reputation of other government officials and dramatically affects the trust of people and the public in the leadership of the government”, it also claims he acted alone.
The statement specifically defends the integrity of CDC head Sok Chenda Sorphea, saying the minister “promotes, educates, advises, and warns his inferior[s] not to commit things that contrast with the law”.
San Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability-Cambodia, was sceptical.
“I think there should be further investigation . . . It’s not only him,” Chey said, claiming that Piseth did not have the authority to refuse to process documents on his own.
Chey also said that this type of corruption was rampant in Cambodia, with government officials often demanding extra money without explaining what’s wrong with the paperwork.
“Any requests for businesses are usually faced with irregularities. The government officials have no answer for them; they don’t explain what’s wrong with the documents,” he said.
Reached on the phone yesterday, Chenda Sorphea declined to comment on the story.
“Today is Sunday, I’m not working. You can work on Sunday, but I’m not speaking,” he said.
Additional reporting by Khouth Sophak Chakrya