ACU Publishes Anonymous Accusations Against Police, Clerk

The government’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has published anonymous accusations against five Phnom Penh police officials alleged to have been taking bribes to speed up the issuance of identity cards and family books.

None of the five has been arrested, however, despite an ACU official on Sunday saying they were guilty.

A June 11 statement posted to the ACU’s website says that Min Sopheat, head of the municipal police’s statistics and identification office, and four of his subordinates had been accused of charging $50 for identity cards that should cost about $2.50 to cut down the wait time from six months to one.

Their anonymous accusers, according to the statement, also claimed that the officials had been charging $10 for family books that should be free to shorten the wait time from one year to one month.

The statement includes rebuttals from the five officials, all of whom profess innocence.

Contacted Sunday, Chea Sam An, head of the ACU’s technology and forensics department, said the unit posted the statement in order to let the public know that the officials were criminals.

“The ACU posted this announcement to inform the public about the illegal actions of those police officials,” he said.

Mr. Sam An refused to explain why they had not been apprehended, and declined to answer further questions.

Top Sam, who chairs the the Anti-Corruption Council, which oversees the ACU, declined to comment on the accusations.

“I don’t work at the ACU, so you can ask the ACU,” he said.

ACU chairman Om Yentieng could not be reached.

Mr. Sopheat, of the municipal police’s statistics office, conceded that some of his subordinates took bribes for expedited services, but insisted that he did not know who they were and that he was not involved.

“I do not tell people to pay $50 to get identity cards in one month,” he said. “We don’t deny that extra money is charged, because some people collude with some officials to make the identity cards and they hide the information from me.”

Mr. Sopheat said he suspected his accusers of fabricating the allegations against him in the hopes of getting his job, but added that he had no fear of arrest.

“I am not worried about arrest because I did not do anything like this,” he said.

In an unrelated case, the ACU posted another June 11 statement to its website relaying an anonymous accusation against Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court clerk Thoun Serey, claiming he asked for $1,500 from the family of a convicted drug trafficker to reduce his sentence.

According to the statement, Mr. Serey denied the accusation. It is unclear whether he has been arrested or punished.

pheap@cambodiadaily.com

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