Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CHRAC ‘never requested bribe texts’

CHRAC ‘never requested bribe texts’

CHRAC secretary-general Suon Bunsak (centre), who announced his resignation on Tuesday, attends a compensation meeting earlier this year in Kampong Speu. Photo supplied
CHRAC secretary-general Suon Bunsak (centre), who announced his resignation on Tuesday, attends a compensation meeting earlier this year in Kampong Speu. Photo supplied

CHRAC ‘never requested bribe texts’

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee’s investigation into allegations that recently resigned secretary-general Suon Bunsak attempted to solicit a bribe was conducted without attempting to obtain text messages central to the accusation.

The texts, obtained by the Post, show Bunsak demanding a $1,500 “incentive” from former CHRAC consultant Billy Tai in return for the promise of better working conditions.

Tai originally leaked the texts to CHRAC donor Norwegian People’s Aid in June. NPA country director Aksel Steen-Nilsen said in an email yesterday that he was “very surprised to hear now that they have not had access to them”.

Steen-Nilsen said he asked the steering committee to request that Tai provide copies of the messages, saying the NPA would provide them otherwise. But both Tai and Steen-Nilsen yesterday said they never received a request for the messages.

The man tasked with investigating the allegations, Yong Kim Eng, did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

Seemingly reversing on a statement earlier this week, Steen-Nilsen said NPA had not in fact resumed funding to CHRAC since suspending it on July 4. He said one of the reasons was that, “NPA has not accepted any evidence so far” that might exonerate Bunsak.

There are two conditions for resumption of funding, he said: the steering committee taking full control of day-to-day operations and a full audit.

“It’s a difficult time for us . . . I think maybe we cannot manage all these things,” acting CHRAC chair In Kea said, adding that Bunsak will continue to work for CHRAC for the next few months to manage the transition period. Bunsak could not be reached.

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the