A Funcinpec undersecretary of state at the Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday denied allegations by two royalist officials that he had them dismissed from their government jobs after they refused to pay him $1,000 each in bribes.
Teath Chamroeun and Pich Sovann both claim that they were dismissed in late August from their positions after they refused to make under-the-table payments to undersecretary of state Ek Roath.
They say they have filed a complaint about the case with Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay and the party’s Deputy Secretary-General Chhim Seak Leng.
“I never demanded $1,000 from them,” Ek Roath said in an interview at the ministry. “I actually tried my best to help them be fulltime officials for the Agriculture Ministry,” he said.
He added that the two officials are trying to frame him, though he declined to say why.
Teath Chamroeun, former deputy director of Sihanoukville municipality agriculture department, claimed that after he refused to pay the bribe, Ek Roath asked his superiors in Phnom Penh to remove him.
“[Ek Roath] demanded $1,000 from me but I refused. So he was angry with me,” he claimed. “Ek Roath took revenge against me and some other officials who refused to offer him money,” he alleged.
Pich Sovann, former deputy director of Koh Kong provincial agriculture department, said he was removed for similar reasons on the same day as Teath Chamroeun.
“There was no clear reason given for the removal. I refused to offer $1,000 to [Ek Roath] last year as well,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Chan Sarun could not be reached for comment. Chhim Seak Leng said he was unaware of the complaint and referred questions to Nhiek Bun Chhay, who could not be contacted.