THE government’s Anti-Corruption Unit has sent a letter to the Ministry of Information asking it to respond to allegations that its officials demanded bribes to let applicants pass exams for jobs in the ministry, a letter published on the ACU’s website reveals.
ACU President Om Yentieng’s June 10 letter, posted yesterday alongside Information Minister Khieu Kanharith’s subsequent denial of the bribe claims, says that in May the ACU received a complaint from civil servants within the ministry against Undersecretary of State Norng Beoun and other officials.
Yentieng said the complaint alleges that Beoun, who is head of the ministry’s Staff Department, and her conspirators “demanded 35,000 riel [$8.75] from each civil servant to allow the right to take the exam,” and “demanded between $300 and $1,200 in exchange for allowing them to pass the exam”.
In his response on June 19, Kanharith denies the allegations, saying Beoun never violated any ministry regulations.
“In the case of this accusation, I think that it may be caused by confusion of some individual civil servants in the ministry, who previously had asked HE Norng Beoun and other officials at the Staff Department to help them pass examinations and promised to pay a tip of $50, $100, $150 or $1,200, depending on whether [the exams] were category A, B or C,” Kanharith writes.
Despite these requests from exam-takers, Kanharith says, “Her Excellency Norng Beoun advised her staff absolutely not to give this help, because the exam is supposed to measure the ability and knowledge of individual civil servants.”
Kanharith concluded his letter by appealing to Yentieng to drop the case.
Yentieng hung up the phone when contacted yesterday.
The complaint follows a similar allegation, which the ACU announced it was investigating in April, that Forestry Administration officials were demanding bribes of up to $5,000 from each student seeking to pass the administration’s entrance exams.