Beehive Officer Who Claimed Graft Ousted

By a show of hands, supporters of the fledgling Beehive Social Democratic Party (BSDP) on Saturday ousted a trio of senior officials who had accused party president and popular radio station owner Mam Sonando of embezzling funds.

In October, BSDP Vice President Heang Rithy filed a complaint with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court accusing Mr. Sonando of personally managing all the party’s expenses in contravention of its own statutes, and asked for an injunction against all political activity.

Mam Sonando greets members of his Beehive Social Democratic Party at their second congress in Phnom Penh on Saturday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Mam Sonando greets members of his Beehive Social Democratic Party at their second congress in Phnom Penh on Saturday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

But at the BSDP’s second congress on Saturday in Phnom Penh, the more than 100 party supporters who showed up raised their hands in support of a motion from Mr. Sonando to oust Mr. Rithy, along with Secretary-General Nham Vanthan and his deputy, Heang Kim Soeun, who had also signed on to the complaint.

Also by a show of hands, the members voted in Ouk Suy, a former CNRP official, as the new secretary-general. The other two positions went unfilled.

After the turnover, Mr. Sonando, who has denied the corruption claim, likened the party to a car with tires that cannot be punctured.

“Today we reunite to clean them out, and I believe that after December 12, 2015, the Beehive Social Democratic Party will proceed smooth and strong to rehabilitate the country,” he told the crowd.

“From now on, the Beehive Social Democratic Party is like a car with four airless tires; there will be no flats anymore.”

The party also voted in a finance director and a head of public affairs.

Contacted on Sunday, Mr. Rithy brushed aside his ejection from the party, claiming he had already turned his back on the BSDP.

“It was not necessary for Mam Sonando to remove me; I walked out by myself. I cannot work with a person who is a fake democrat and corrupt,” he said.

Mr. Rithy said he had also appealed the municipal court’s rejection in early November of his injunction request to temporarily freeze the party’s funds, and added that he had filed an application with the Interior Ministry to create his own party, the Cambodian National Justice Party.

The ministry’s administration department confirmed that it received the application on December 4.

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