Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ACU chief Yentieng ‘sorry’ for jab at cops

ACU chief Yentieng ‘sorry’ for jab at cops

Police stop the driver of a vehicle in Phnom Penh last year. Yesterday during a meeting Om Yentieng apologised to Sar Kheng for his criticism of corrupt traffic police.
Police stop the driver of a vehicle in Phnom Penh last year. Yesterday during a meeting Om Yentieng apologised to Sar Kheng for his criticism of corrupt traffic police. Vireak Mai

ACU chief Yentieng ‘sorry’ for jab at cops

The head of Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), Om Yentieng, has apologised for suggesting that the Kingdom’s traffic police might be corrupt.

Yentieng’s about-face came yesterday at a public meeting about the new Traffic Law – which goes into effect today – attended by Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, from whom he asked forgiveness.

The ACU director had singled out graft within the traffic police and the ministry’s identification department during a speech at an International Anti-Corruption Day event on December 9.

Responding the very next day, the Interior Ministry said Yentieng’s comments had hurt morale among its hardworking employees and that cases of corruption involving its staff were dealt with appropriately.

“In the previous five years, the ACU has respected the active, hard work of the traffic police across the country and knows clearly about the hard work they face and have to solve every day and minute,” Yentieng said, after praising Sar Kheng’s “relentless” efforts to prepare for the traffic code’s implementation.

“On the occasion of December 9, National Anti-Corruption Day, I spoke wrong words, and today I [admit] I made a mistake in using inappropriate words as was pointed out in the statement of the spokesman of the Ministry of Interior . . . on December 10.

“At this moment, I take this stage . . . to apologise to . . . Sar Kheng for using my inappropriate words, words that affect morale, and I hope and believe that, with his kind state of mind, he will forgive me for my words.”

Yentieng went on to say he was “very impressed” with the hard work of the Interior Ministry, Ministry of Public Works and Transport and National Police in strengthening the Traffic Law.

In his December 9 speech, Yentieng, who could not be reached yesterday, said that in 2016, the ACU, working with youth groups, would use an “iron brush” to clean up corruption, taking aim at informal fees charged for identification cards and illegal checkpoints set up by traffic police to extort motorists.

Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Son Chhay, an anti-corruption campaigner, yesterday said actions spoke louder than words.

“I think he deserves to apologise to Sar Kheng when he uses language against the police in general. He ought to come up with a report, not just open his big mouth and say whatever he likes,” Chhay said.

Transparency International executive director Preap Kol characterised the apology as a “political compromise” to ensure the bodies could work together to fight corruption.

According to a December 30 release, the ACU this year checked 100 companies’ compliance with their economic land concession, received 772 complaints, 360 of which were anonymous, observed 407 public tenders, consulting on 78 of them, and was “involved” with 22 court cases.

The document, which noted 21,683 officials had declared their assets in the past two years, did not mention convictions.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro