Major General Chou Sam On, a Kampong Thom provincial police chief accused of bribery and corruption by members of his staff, is expected to be moved to a post in the Interior Ministry.
“On Tuesday he will be transferred to the Interior Ministry, in the penal department,” said Pen Vibol, head of the Interior Ministry’s personnel department. He added that this decision may still be subject to change.
Sam On has vigorously protested his innocence but he told The Post the transfer would allow him to preserve his honour, while his bosses could demonstrate they recognised mistakes had been made.
Deputy provincial police chief Keo Khannara said the decision to transfer his boss came after five deputy provincial police chiefs – including Khannara himself – stepped forward to accuse him and human resources officer Ith Kim Sron of charging money for police jobs and promotions.
Khannara said the transfer was scheduled for Tuesday. Ouk Kosal, who worked in Kampong Thom province as a deputy provincial police chief for about 10 years and was now with the penal police department, would replace Sam On.
“I believe the new provincial police chief will be OK, because he would take this as experience and would not allow it to happen [again],” Khannara said of the alleged corrupt practices.
Sam On said yesterday he was aware of the plan but expected formal notification today. “I have no opinion on it because the leaders made the decision,” he said, referring to the interior minister and the National Police chief. “If the transfer is quiet, it will leave my honour [intact], but when [the ministry] does this, it shows that we have made mistakes, and we acknowledge that we have made a few administrative mistakes, but there is no absolute corruption.”
He repeated his allegations that the charges were fabricated, and maintained that his accusers “set me up, and I do not know about [any corruption]”. It remained unclear clear what, if any, action would be taken against the human resources officer who was also accused.
Transparency International Cambodia executive director Preap Kol said that while he was unaware of this case, it was all too common that authorities tolerated allegations of corruption. A “compromised punishment or all forms of tolerance towards corruption crime set a bad example and do not make the fight against corruption effective”, he said in an email.
“We have observed that the Government’s institutions still widely practice this kind of tolerance and it should be stopped if the Government wants the fight against corruption to be more effective.”