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Two Interior Ministry officials transferred after nepotism claims

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Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak speaks at an event in 2016. Heng Chivoan

Two Interior Ministry officials transferred after nepotism claims

The Ministry of Interior has transferred two General Department of Internal Audit officials to other units following accusations of nepotism against the department’s director-general Thim Sopha.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak told The Post on Monday that the ministry has reviewed the case thoroughly and found that of 11 officials who have been accused of being inappropriately appointed to the department, six are relatives of Sopha, while only four work for the General Department of Internal Audit.

“Based on the results of our internal review, the ministry has decided to transfer two of the four officials to serve in other units [within the ministry]."

“We see four of his relatives including his son and his daughter-in-law working at one unit. Two of the four were transferred, while the other two remain working under him. They are under our watch,” Sopheak said.

A ministry press release dated March 1 stressed that among Sopha’s relatives, two are National Police officials who continue to work at the General Department of Internal Audit and must execute their roles and tasks in accordance with relevant regulations and statutes.

The press release said the transfer of the two followed publication by local media outlets and social media sites of accusations of irregularities in connection with the assignment of Sopha’s family members to the department.

Sopha told The Post on Monday that he was satisfied that two of his relatives had been transferred by the ministry because it exists to provide justice, a task which he himself has performed in the past.

“I am very satisfied that the ministry’s leadership has provided justice. The leadership understand my situation clearly through its monitoring and it has focused its attention on this case."

“I don’t fret about worldly possessions because I think leadership comes from our parents and their wisdom,” he said.

Sopha said two of his relatives had been transferred from the department. One was transferred to the Ministry’s Department of Health while the other has been moved to the General Department of Logistics and Finance.