The Anti-Corruption Unit has threatened new opposition candidate Prince Thomico Sisowath with prison if he fails to declare his assets within a week, he claimed yesterday.
Thomico, a candidate for the Cambodia National Rescue Party in July’s National Election, said a letter from ACU president Om Yentieng had informed him that if he didn’t fully disclose his assets, he would face immediate legal action.
“I will not declare my assets, because the institution of the King is independent. Therefore, it should be not interfered with by the government or ACU,” he said.
The letter, dated Monday and obtained yesterday, claims that 148 royal family members and palace officials have declared their assets confidentially, leaving Thomico the only one whose details they await.
“The Anti-Corruption Unit would like to warn Prince Thomico that in case of stubbornness and an unwillingness to declare [his] assets and debts within one week . . . [he] must be punished in accordance with Article 38 of the Law on Anti-Corruption,” the letter says.
“Failure to comply with the declaration could result in a prison term of between one month and one year and fines of up to 2 million riel [$500] and will be doubled in the case that [Thomico] is stubborn.”
Thomico said he believed the letter had been issued for political reasons.
“I think the warning letter was a tool of the CPP to intimidate and put pressure on me now that I have entered politics,” said the prince, who will contest a seat in Preah Sihanouk province.
The letter had arrived in an envelope without official ACU markings, Thomico said. Sar Sambath, a permanent member of the ACU, said he was not aware of the letter and could not confirm its authenticity.
“I’m not in charge of the assets declaration department. It’s a good question to ask my president,” he said. Yentieng, however, could not be reached.
The ACU has previously said about 100,000 officials would be required to declare their assets. That number has since dropped to 25,000.
Prime Minister Hun Sen declared his assets confidentially on April 1, but later said he earned a monthly salary of $1,125.