Former National Aids Authority Official Alleges Corruption

A former official at the National Aids Authority (NAA) alleged this week that the organization falsified letters authorizing missions to three different provinces so that fraudulent expenses could be claimed.

Lem Pichpisey, a former adviser to NAA chairman Ieng Mouly, on Tuesday submitted a formal letter of complaint to the NAA over the alleged corruption.

In an interview Thursday, Mr. Pichpisey said he quit his job late last year after discovering in Mr. Mouly’s office three letters with his name listed as the lead staffer for field missions he had never taken. These letters would entitle the bearer to various expense claims.

“I wish to state that [NAA leaders] never ordered me to go on the missions,” he said. “I think they issued the letters to make money, and this is the business of corrupt people.”

Mr. Pichpisey provided documents authorizing him to lead three different missions in 2014: a three-day trip to Kompong Chhnang province, a one-day trip to Takeo province and a three-day trip to Preah Vihear province. He said he never went on the trips, and that as far as he knows, they never took place at all.

“It is an injustice for me because I never used these letters, but [NAA officials] used the letters with my name to make money and put it in their own pockets,” he said. “I recently resigned from my job because I think that they… committed corruption.”

Mission leaders are entitled to claim hotel expenses of $15 per day for each team member, as well as a one-time food expense payment of $5 per team member, Mr. Pichpisey said.

Mr. Mouly could not be reached for comment. However, NAA vice chairman Kong Rotha, whose signature was on the letters provided by Mr. Pichpisey, denied the accusations of corruption.

“I want to state that no one is able to steal money from mission letters because we have a legal process for the individual to use the mission letter to claim money from the Ministry of Economy,” he said.

Mr. Rotha said Mr. Pichpisey had refused to go on the three missions and that the NAA had sent someone else, declining to name the person who replaced Mr. Pichpisey.

Mr. Rotha added that he had received Mr. Pichpisey’s complaint and already decided that no action would be taken regarding the corruption claims.

“I have received a complaint from him today with some evidence, but the evidence is not enough to prove that His Excellency [Ieng Mouly] and I stole money from the mission letter,” he said.

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