Deputy Police Chief Contests Taking Over $200K in Bribes

A deputy chief of the Kompong Chhnang provincial police has denied claims that he received more than $200,000 in bribes in exchange for giving a passing grade to about 100 candidates sitting an exam to join the force as officers.

Soum Socheat, deputy provincial police chief in charge of human resources, was accused of taking $30 from each person who wished to apply to take the exam and more than $2,000 if the applicant wished to pass, according to a letter posted to the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) website.

The undated letter says Mr. Socheat was accused of “taking money from candidates who pass the exam for the National Police in the Kompong Chhnang provincial commissariat in 2014…$2,000 to $2,500 from each.”

In addition to bribery claims leveled against him, Mr. Socheat was also accused of using his position as head of human resources to receive the monthly salaries of two police officers who do not exist.

Mr. Socheat could not be reached Thursday. However, the ACU letter laying out the accusations against him also includes a response that the unit received from the deputy police chief denying the accusations.

In his response, Mr. Socheat said he only ever charged 5,000 riel (about $1.25) for the exam application forms, and had sent the total 1,250,000 riel (about $313) he collected to the National Police in Phnom Penh.

The letter also says that the deputy chief is only one of a number of people on a committee responsible for letting students pass the exam, a group that also includes a deputy provincial governor.

“Thus, he could not, or was not able to, take money from each of the the 113 candidates, from $2,000 to $2,500, in exchange for passing the exam, as accused,” it says.

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