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Director embezzled: teachers

A view of the entrance to Romeas Hek High School in Svay Rieng province
A view of the entrance to Romeas Hek High School in Svay Rieng province earlier this year, where 49 teachers have filed a complaint to the ACU against the school’s principal. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Director embezzled: teachers

Half of the faculty at Romeas Hek High School in Svay Rieng province has called for the director’s removal amid claims he has pocketed more than $20,000 by selling school property since 2008.

Putting their signatures and thumbprints to a nine-page demand sent to the Ministry of Education and obtained yesterday, 49 of the school’s 99 educators have claimed principal Mao Kimly sold construction materials donated to the school by a local authority across the border in Vietnam.

As well as the building supplies, he is accused of selling wood removed from three school buildings, selling school trees, and faking the signatures of teachers on legal documents.

The teachers also claim he skimmed 4 per cent of their overtime earnings over a period of seven years and pocketed a third of a $3-per-head monthly donation provided to 18 senior teachers by NGO Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE) between 2012 and 2014.

“We do not know where the money went since we have not seen it used to develop the school. Therefore, we allege that he took the money for himself,” one of the teachers, who asked not to be named, said yesterday.

KAPE’s coordinator for Romeas Hek district, Chan Bun Thoeurn, confirmed none of the money was intended for Kimly.

The teacher also claimed Kimly had taken a cut of salaries of teachers who only worked part-time but drew a full wage, as well as allowing truant students to buy their way through school.

It is the second time teachers have made such claims about Kimly, following a strike over his alleged corruption in 2010.

After the Ministry of Education passed the case over to the local authorities, representatives of the Svay Rieng Provincial Education, Youth, and Sport Department reportedly attended the school yesterday morning and rebuked Kimly.

But the teacher who spoke anonymously said all of the complaint’s signatories want a full investigation from the Ministry of Education.

Ministry of Education spokesman Ros Salin could not be reached for comment.

Speaking yesterday, Kimly refused to confirm whether the accusations were true or not, but suggested any blame for wrongdoing should be shared by his deputy principals.

“I am not responsible for all of the actions,” he said.

Svay Rieng Provincial Education Department Deputy Director Sar Phalla confirmed some of the accusations were true, but said others were not.

“The investigation showed that some points are not true,” Phalla said. “The payments all have legal documents showing the correct procedures.”

However, he added that if the teachers complained again, a new investigation would be launched.

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