Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Political prince leaves palace

Political prince leaves palace

Political prince leaves palace

2 thomico speaks pha lina

Prince Sisowath Thomico has vowed to declare his assets to the Anti-Corruption Unit and resign from his royal responsibilities, freeing himself of two issues that have harried him since he joined the opposition as a candidate earlier this month.

The outgoing personal secretary to Queen Mother Norodom Monineath made the decision after Prime Minister Hun Sen accused him in a May 16 speech of dragging the palace into his campaign for a seat in Preah Sihanouk province on the Cambodia National Rescue Party ticket.

A few days after the speech, Thomico, a nephew of and former aide to the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, received a letter dated May 20 commanding him to declare his assets to the ACU or face possible imprisonment and fines.

As an independent body, Thomico has argued, the palace falls outside the jurisdiction of the ACU, a position he has maintained since the Kingdom’s anti-corruption law came into force in 2011.

“I have opposed this law since 2011,” Prince Thomico said yesterday.

“But now, they raised this case in 2013, when I joined the Cambodia National Rescue Party,” he said, adding that the move was clearly political, and his compliance had more to do with getting the ACU off his back.

“So I have nothing to refuse. I’ll completely submit to [the president of the ACU] His Excellency Om Yentieng so he can sleep easily.”

Assets declared to the Anti-Corruption Unit are not made public, which has led rights groups and observers to question whether the rule adds to the Kingdom’s transparency.

The warning letter from the ACU to Thomico states that he is the only one of 149 palace officials to have not confidentially filed financial documents to the graft watchdog.

Regarding his departure from the royal palace, Thomico said he did not want to drag the reputations of the Queen Mother and King Norodom Sihamoni into politics.

The prince stressed that he had not met with them to discuss his choice but believed they would be “happy” with his decision.

One person who definitely isn’t happy with Thomico is ACU President Om Yentieng, who called allegations that the ACU was a political tool  “worthless”.

“When the prince acts like this, the prince doesn’t value himself,” he said.

“Please don’t be defiant.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Man arrested for fake PM endorsement

    The owner of currency exchange company GCG Asia Co Ltd was temporarily detained by the court yesterday for attempted fraud after Prime Minister Hun Sen reacted to the company using his name and pictures to allege his endorsement of the firm. Phnom Penh Municipal Court

  • Archeologists find ancient phallic statue

    An archeological team has found a metre-long tipless stone linga (penis) of the Hindu deity Shiva in the foundations of a temple in Kratie province’s historical Samphu Borak area, a former capital of the pre-Angkor Empire Chenla period. Thuy Chanthourn, the deputy director of

  • Sihanoukville authority orders structure dismantled

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration has ordered owners of two unauthorised construction sites to immediately dismantle them and warned of legal action if the owners failed to comply. Ly Chet Niyom, development management and construction bureau chief at the provincial hall, told The Post on

  • China steel company relocates to Cambodia

    Chinese state-owned iron and steel company China Baowu Steel Group Corp Ltd has unveiled plans to relocate its blast furnaces from Xinjiang Autonomous Region in the northwest of China to Cambodia, which will be the first overseas Baowu production plant, a Reuters report on Wednesday