ACU Says Provincial Social Affairs Officials Withheld Pensions

Retired teachers living in Kompong Cham province’s Srei Santhor district were deprived of their pensions for the month of March last year due to corruption within the district social affairs office, the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) said Monday.

“The Anti-Corruption Unit found that the district social affairs office…is the sole body that did not pay pensions to these retired teachers [in March, 2012], and also forged their fingerprints,” a statement posted to the ACU’s website reads.

The statement does not say how many teachers failed to receive their pensions that month, nor does it specify how much money was unaccounted for.

“Furthermore, the [Srei Santhor] district social affairs office did not pay a 20,000 riel [about $5]…monthly living bonus to retired teachers for the whole of 2010,” the statement continues.

The statement concludes by urging anyone affected by the withheld pensions or stipends “to cooperate and file complaints” with the ACU using the anti-graft body’s telephone hotline.

Neither ACU president Om Yentieng nor vice president Sean Borath could be reached Monday.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodia Independent Teachers Association, said the practice of withholding money from retired teachers is a nationwide problem, and not specific to Srei Santhor district.

“Many social affairs officials in charge of paying pensions and other bonuses commit this kind of corruption,” Mr. Chhun said.

“When the retirees go to them, they make excuses, saying there is not money for them yet, or it will take a long time to pay them,” Mr. Chhun said, adding that the ACU is not taking sufficient steps to prosecute those corrupt officials.

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