Families Cry Foul Over CNRP TV

Thirty-five families from Kandal province have written to the opposition CNRP requesting the return of more than $1,300 they say they donated to the party to support the establishment of its television station, citing concerns about embezzlement.

The CNRP was granted permission to launch the country’s first-ever opposition-aligned TV station last year and has since set about raising the millions of dollars it says it needs to begin broadcasting by the end of this year.

It initially planned to raise the funds through the release of shares by an independent company but financial regulations prevented that method, forcing the party to instead depend on donations from people in Cambodia and those abroad.

In a letter to the CNRP dated Saturday, a man named Sar Sokun said that he represented families with unreconcilable concerns about the party’s handling of the donations.

“We represent 35 families in Kandal Stung district in Kandal province and request to withdraw 5,350,000 riel [about $1,340] that we contributed to create Sun TV in the middle of June,” the letter says, using the station’s name.

The letter said the group had read an unspecified news report with people complaining about a lack of transparency from the CNRP in its handling of the money and that in the report, the opposition did not clarify the complaints.

“We suspect that the news that covered the corruption and embezzled money in the past was true, and therefore the 35 families of Kandal Stung district request to withdraw the money that we have contributed,” the letter concludes.

CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang said he suspected foul play but that the party would return the funds if the families had receipts.

“Up until now, we have not received this letter. We have only seen it through the pro-CPP media, but we learned long ago that they planned to do this,” said Mr. Chhay Eang.

“That’s why we planned proper receipts,” he added.

“I would like the people to show their receipts from contributing money, and we will verify it. If it is a real receipt, and they want to withdraw [the money], we will give it back.”

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