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Traffic police accuse top officials of graft

ACU chief Om Yentieng, who received corruption complaints from traffic police, talks at an anti-corruption forum earlier this week.
ACU chief Om Yentieng, who received corruption complaints from traffic police, talks at an anti-corruption forum earlier this week. Pha Lina

Traffic police accuse top officials of graft

A group of Phnom Penh traffic police have filed a damning complaint to Anti-Corruption Unit President Om Yentieng, accusing their bosses of skimming their pay, promoting friends and relatives, and striking deals with private transport companies.

In the anonymous complaint, submitted Monday, the cops demand Yentieng take legal action against an unnamed traffic police chief and nine deputy police chiefs, who they say “oppress” their subordinates and “corrupt” the traffic division.

Deputy police chief Heng Chantheary is named as head of the section being exploited.

The complainants say they’re forced to earn cash along main roads, including Norodom and Monivong boulevards, and kick $100 upstairs each month to their bosses.

Those who want to work overtime have to pay an extra $50 a month, they add.

“Factory workers are worth more than us because workers working overtime receive money from their bosses, but we are traffic police and to work overtime we have to pay our bosses. We do not understand.”

Also, the group says their bosses allow big trucks from certain companies to flout laws banning them from the city.

And, they say, long-serving officers are routinely passed over for promotion in favour of those with ties to management.

“There are some officers who have worked hard for 30 to 40 years, almost a half a lifetime, who have not been promoted; but then there are some who have just joined who are made deputy chief,” the complaint reads.

Phnom Penh municipal traffic police chief Chev Hak yesterday declined to comment.

Deputy chief Chantheary also refused to respond to the allegations.

“I cannot answer, because for this problem, I have already reported to the leaders,” he said, adding: “This issue affects the honour of our leaders.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity yesterday, two traffic officers on Norodom Boulevard said although they were not made to pay their bosses, they were aware of the practice.

They explained their post was not on a “business” section of the road, where officers can expect a high turnover of fines.

To have the lucrative spots – which the officers declined to specify – officers must pay their superiors, they said.

“Where they can earn, they ask the bosses and pay for the bosses’ [approval],” he said.

Yentieng yesterday said he hadn’t received the complaint, but vowed the ACU would take action if it found evidence.


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