Anti-Corruption Unit to Investigate Telecom Cambodia Chief

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) will launch an investigation into corruption allegations made by staff at Telecom Cambodia against its director-general Lao Sarouen, officials said on Wednesday. 

During a meeting with 295 Telecom Cambodia employees at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, ACU chairman Om Yentieng told staff that his unit had received their complaints and would open an investigation.

“We will officially investigate. We will meet with our brothers to look at the evidence, and we will question [Mr. Sarouen],” he said.

“If we find out that there is enough evidence, we will send this to the court,” he said, adding that the ACU had received 10 separate complaints from employees at Telecom Cambodia.

“We need to listen to our brothers and look at all the evidence. I think we will begin to investigate the plaintiffs next week, and the following week, we will [question] Mr. Sarouen,” Mr. Yentieng said.

Earlier this month, hundreds of Telecom Cambodia employees demonstrated outside the company’s headquarters, claiming that $2 million was unaccounted for within Telecom Cambodia and that Mr. Sarouen had acquired properties and expensive cars during his time as director-general.

Mr. Sarouen has since left his position, and Minister of Posts and Telecommunications So Khun has said that he is on medical leave.

Mr. Khun, who has stood beside Mr. Sarouen and said there is no evidence of corruption, said on Wednesday that the ministry would cooperate with the ACU.

“The ministry is also working on this case. Don’t worry,” he said at the meeting.

Yesterday’s meeting occurred after the ACU ordered staff at Teecom Cambodia to take part in an “educational” session on the country’s Anti-Corruption Law.

Tim Channarith, cable manager at Telecom Cambodia, said he and his colleagues welcomed the ACU’s investigation.

“We are really impressed that the ACU will come to investigate. If they find out that Mr. Sarouen is corrupt, he needs to be punished by the law. But, if they find out that he is not corrupt, then we won’t say anything,” he said.

Attempts to reach Mr. Sarouen were unsuccessful. On Tuesday, a domestic worker at Mr. Sarouen’s home said he had gone to Vietnam for medical treatment more than a week ago.

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