Official Blocked Exports to Extort Firm: ACU Boss

The head of the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) on Thursday shed a sliver of light on the evidence against a Foreign Affairs Ministry official jailed for taking money from a foreign-owned company, saying the suspect had used his position to prevent the firm from exporting its goods overseas.

Ea Se, a bureau chief in the ministry department that oversees relations with Australia and New Zealand, was arrested by the ACU on March 31, charged with misappropriation of public funds by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Sunday, then sent to prison to await trial.

Both ACU and ministry officials have been tight-lipped about the case; an internal ministry memo said only that Mr. Se had taken money from a “foreign company” outside his capacity as a bureau chief.

On Thursday, however, ACU Chairman Om Yentieng broke his silence. Speaking during a press conference about the recent arrest of Suth Dina, Cambodia’s ambassador to South Korea, he said Mr. Se had attempted to extort a foreign-owned factory in Cambodia.

“First, he demanded $300 from them. When the company did not provide the bribe, he kept their goods for three to four months.

He would not let their goods be exported for four months, then he asked them for $1,000,” he said, adding that he was alerted to the situation by a representative of the factory in Macao.

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