Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Anger over Customs ax

Anger over Customs ax

Anger over Customs ax

I NDIVIDUALS who paid as much as $4,000 - and others perhaps more - for positions as customs officials are angry that their jobs have been ditched following the sacking of Sam Rainsy.

Co-Prime Ministers Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen cancelled all of Rainsy's approvals after they sacked him, including his decision to recruit another 106 customs officers.

There is no suggestion that the money the Post understands was paid to "grease" people in authority went to Rainsy.

However, it is apparent that at least some of those whom Rainsy approved as customs officials paid a lot of money for what is generally considered a "plum" job.

The situation was apparently known within Rainsy's finance and economic ministry.

Ministry secretary Chay Thon told the Post that many people were suffering from losing their promised positions "because they lost a lot of money."

One successful candidate, who asked not to be named, said he had been working in the Tax Collection Office.

He said he paid $4,000 to a third party working in a bank who claimed he had contacts who could help him get a position as a customs officer.

It obviously worked - the man's name appears on a list of new customs officers, under Rainsy's signature, printed in a local Khmer newspaper.

"It is so bad and now my money is gone," he said.

He could not demand the money back or even file charges against the man he paid money to "because we are dealing in the black market."

"I think many people paid the same as me and some paid even more, so they are suffering more."

He said the way to get a job in the customs department was a "competition" that relied only on money.

"It had nothing to do with skills or qualifications."

The competition for customs positions also seems to have produced other scams, with people pretending to have influential contacts and accepting bribes - then not delivering.

One woman, who also requested anonymity, said she tried to get her brother a job in the customs department.

She said she paid $3,000 to a man who claimed to be a high-ranking official within Funcinpec.

However, her brother's name did not appear on the list of approvals.

She said the man she paid the bribe to said a "colleague" fled with her money.

She said she demanded her money back but he refused, warning her she would be shot if she "spoiled" his name in public.

"I can do nothing now."

"I understand the [customs] job is very risky but it is the best in the country."

"You see, every custom officer has their own private car," she said, claiming that as proof of the opportunities that customs officials have to accept bribes themselves.

Before the elections the customs department had 616 staff. Under Rainsy those numbers were boosted to 1,063.

Finance and Economic Ministry deputy director Pich Vong said he did not think it was necessary to increase numbers further.

"We are already full of staff," he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Baby saved as mother is lost to Covid

    Newborn baby Neth David has had a rough start in the world. His mother, Vong Daneth, was seven months pregnant when she contracted a severe case of Covid-19. When it became clear to her doctors that she would not survive, they performed a cesarean section

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.

  • Hun Sen: Get 12-17 age group ready for Covid jabs

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has told parents of children aged 12-17 in Phnom Penh and the provinces of Kandal and Preah Sihanouk to get them ready for vaccinations soon. “There is a need to vaccinate children and youths aged 12 to 17. According to the statistics provided