There has been another strange development in the case of the Phnom Penh anti-corruption
NGO that last month publicly declared itself to be internally corrupted and was suspending
operations pending a cleanout and restructure.
Two different factions are now at each other's throats.
Som Sophatra, signing as executive director of KHRACO (Khmer Human Rights and Anti-Corruption
Organization), has issued a media statement dated May 17 declaring that the three
who made the May 6 claim told lies on fake documents to distort public opinion for
their own political ambitions.
Sophatra, on letterhead paper, with the official stamp, described Lim Ky Eng, Pen
Vano and Vong Vanna as "underdone politicians" and "mobile partisans"
with no KHRACO official titles who had only been voluntary staff for a short period.
However, Eng (who says he started the NGO with his own money and now practices as
an accountant) says he went public to save the organization from Sophatra's mismanagement.
He was no longer involved as an officer of the NGO and could only make a public statement
to expose what damage Sophatra was doing.
Asked to comment on Sophatra's statement, Eng said KHRACO planned to stage a public
march against corruption last December 16, but the application was declined by the
"Sophatra concealed this fact. He told us it was approved, and he was allocated
funds to pay for T-shirts, a rented space, advertising and other costs totalling
$600. He got the money and there was no march.
"If Sophatra continues to make untrue statements and mismanages the organization,
I will file a court action to investigate Sophatra for corruption, and produce documented
evidence to prove it."