Officials from the Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Health involved with internal oversight said they have discovered “irregularities” in the management of the Cambodia-Japan Friendship Hospital in Mongkol Borei district under director Chan Vuthy Navuth.

The scrutiny followed critical Facebook comments by provincial governor Um Reatrey.

“No decision has been made yet as to whether Chan Vuthy Navuth will be removed from his post as hospital director.

“The technical team is still investigating and gathering detailed information on Vuthy Navuth’s performance before filing a report to the governor to review as required by the civil service statutes,” provincial health department director Le Chan Sangvat told The Post on September 8.

Chan Sangvat said provincial health officials are required to follow the code of professional ethics in accordance with the civil service statutes. The department must first investigate and find out what if anything has occurred as claimed and what the severity of the problem might be.

“If he has made mistakes we will submit a report to the provincial governor so that he can decide on any disciplinary punishment in accordance with the civil service statutes,” he said.

Chan Sangvat said the provincial health department had transferred all of Vuthy Navuth’s responsibilities to provincial administration officials while the investigation is ongoing.

“Chan Vuthy Navuth has not previously been implicated in any misconduct or given any warnings in that regard, so as far as I know he has done a good job. But it can be a lot of work to be the leader and we’re taking a closer look so that if we find any problems we can solve them,” he said.

He continued that some problems may not be caused by Vuthy Navuth and could be the fault of his subordinates if they have been negligent in their duties, but as the leader Vuthy Navuth must also bear some responsibility for the actions of his subordinates.

“This mistake may not be a big deal, but as the person in charge, the hospital director has to take responsibility for it,” he said.

Reatrey did not immediately respond to a request for comment on September 7.

“Today [September 4] at 10:50pm, I donated blood to save Inly An, a lieutenant colonel in the bodyguard unit of Samdech Techo [Prime Minister Hun Sen].

“The lieutenant colonel came to Banteay Meanchey to have surgery at the Mongkol Borei hospital but its director said that in principle he would have to look for a blood donor to replace any blood used and pay for services prior to surgery even if the patient is in serious condition,” he said in his Facebook post.

“How can the management be making decisions like this? The director ignores his ethical duties and doesn’t know how to do his job. This is not the first time such a problem has come up, it has happened many times. People have always complained about the provision of services at the hospital with Chan Vuthy Navuth as the head,” he added.

Sum Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the governor should not have posted about the situation publicly on his Facebook page and should have instead called a meeting or made recommendations through the appropriate channels.

“Sometimes people post things to social media that are based on what they are feeling rather than the facts of the situation and this post is a public expression of his anger.

“In principle, it is within the governor’s power to address the work performance of any civil servants [but] this should be in a due process where he can consider the input of others who are familiar with all of his work and not just one particular incident,” he said.