T HE Royal Government has sent out a warning to "disloyal" public servants that unless they stopped leaking secret information to the media they would be dismissed and in serious cases jailed.
The government warning, broadcasted on prime-time TVK news at 7 pm on Aug 5, came after co-prime minister Hun Sen sent a confidential letter to Prince Ranariddh which was published in Reasmey Kampuchea on July 27.
In the letter Hun Sen made a strong attack on Sam Rainsy alleging he was making improper pay deals with public officials and his Finance Ministry was entering into illegal contracts by sweeping aside other government ministries.
A media source who requested anonymity said Hun Sen's letter appeared in Reasmey Kampuchea before Prince Ranariddh received it, and the embarrassment caused by the publication prompted the government warning to public servants.
Sam Rainsy, when asked about Hun Sen's letter said he had no comment to make to the Post.
He said the allegations raised in the letter were a private government matter to be solved internally and that was the reason he wished to make no comment on the issue.
When asked if the leaking of the letter caused the government warning Rainsy said: "I don't know about this. But I don't think the letter was serious enough to make the government issue the warning."
A source in the Information Ministry said: "From now on if any public servant leaks sensitive government information to the press in spite of the warning, punishment will be taken against that person.
"The punishment will range from a reprimand to dismissal to imprisonment in accordance with the degree of seriousness of the offense."
The source declined to comment when asked if the government warning was specifically caused by the leaking of Hun Sen's letter.
But he said the warning was prompted because a lot of secret government information was appearing in newspapers.
Hun Sen's private secretary So Sothy told the Post he had no comment to make about the letter which appeared in Reasmey Kam-puchea.
He added that he did not know if the TVK warning was issued because of the publication of Hun Sen's letter.
The warning read out on TVK said: "The government observes that secret letters and documents from government departments and confidential decisions of ministerial meetings are obtained and published by the local and international media before the government officially releases the information.
"This can provoke bad effects on political stability, the military, security and the government's management of public order.
"These incidents are caused by several government officials who have provided the government's secret information to the local and international media.
"These officials lack loyalty, conscience, professionalism and discipline. The media have published the information purely to serve their own interests.
"From now on the Royal Government would like to announce to ministries and institutions in the whole country that the Royal Government would like to educate and warn government officials to keep the government's secret information and documents confidential.
"Important information and documents cannot be released to the public unless it is authorized beforehand by the government, ministers, or heads of institutions.
"In case any official does not abide by this instruction and continues releasing confidential information, the Royal Government will take action, and in cases of serious wrongdoing the official will be punished according to law."
Hun Sen's letter, which appeared in Reasmey Kampuchea, criticised Rainsy for putting forward bonus pay contracts for public accountants and National Bank of Cambodia officials without the agreement of CPP interim Head of State Chea Sim.
Hun Sen wrote that the bonus payments would lead to some officials receiving salaries 10 to 15 times greater than the average state salary for public servants.
He said this would create jealousy amongst government officials in other departments not receiving bonus payments.
He added that the deals were irresponsible in light of the strains on the government budget and the need to exercise spending restraint.
Hun Sen wrote that the Finance Ministry contracts with CKC, Total and Inchcape were entered into without respecting administrative legal procedures or consulting other relevant ministries. He added that this was causing the Commerce Ministry much chagrin.
He said the monopoly rights given to Inchcape would cause the loss of 160 Cambodian jobs in Camcontrol.
He added that the Finance Ministry was entering into these large deals with firms, including a contract to print new passports worth $2,200,000, without instituting competitive bidding in the tendering process.
He said this was leading to inefficiency.
Hun Sen wrote that the Finance Ministry decision to allow the import of right-hand-side-drive cars goes against the cabinet ministers' order and could lead to a strong reaction from Ing Kiet, the minister of Public Works and Transport.
Hun Sen said the Finance Ministry had to be more cooperative and consultative with other ministries and the leadership to avoid conflict and create solidarity in government.
President of KJA Pin Samkhon said: "Some public officials were stealing secret government documents and selling them to the media and that was why so much sensitive information was being published."