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ACU clears senior traffic cop of corruption complaint

A traffic police officer directs the traffic yesterday afternoon on Phnom Penh’s Samdech Monireth Boulevard.
A traffic police officer directs the traffic yesterday afternoon on Phnom Penh’s Samdech Monireth Boulevard. Pha Lina

ACU clears senior traffic cop of corruption complaint

The Anti-Corruption Unit has cleared senior traffic police officer Run Roth Veasna of any wrongdoing after he was subject to a complaint alleging a wide range of corrupt conduct.

According to a document uploaded to the ACU website, the complaint called for action against the director of the National Police’s traffic safety department for awarding positions running national road checkpoints – considered a plum assignment – to officers close to him.

However, based on his clarification, the document states that the checkpoints are assigned in line with procedure. It also added that Veasna: “Has no sibling or relatives . . . who work or serve at the department.”

More broadly, the complaint alleged Veasna oversaw a system that ignored correct bureaucratic processes, citing the example of obtaining police licence plates via the technical expert office rather than through the administration department.

Further, despite the National Police obtaining 12 Mazda police cars tax-free via the state, units were required to pay $32,000 in full if they wanted to use the vehicles, via a hire-purchase program.

The complaint also accused the National Police of failing to pay about 100 traffic police for their work over Khmer New Year in 2015.

The clarification rebuts the allegations, saying it was standard practice for units to pay for the cars and stating that those complaining about unpaid work over the public holiday had insufficient paperwork to support their claims.

Reached yesterday, Veasna said: “My clarification and the ACU announcement was enough to clear it up.”

ACU President Om Yentieng said the complainant could appeal if they were unhappy with the body’s conclusions.

Speaking from his post on Norodom Boulevard, a traffic police officer, who requested anonymity, yesterday said that units stationed on national roads on the capital’s outskirts made more money than officers in the city because they were able to fine bigger vehicles such as container trucks.

Officers are allowed to keep 70 per cent of the fines they issue, under the country’s new Traffic Law, which the officer said had noticeably cut down on corruption.

But another traffic officer, who also requested anonymity, however said corruption was still “normal” within the traffic police, and Cambodia at large.

“Everybody knows it,” he said.

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