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

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there