Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) President Om Yentieng on Wednesday continued to press Prince Sisowath Thomico to declare his assets and dismissed the Prince’s claim that he was being singled out for his recent decision to join the opposition ahead of July’s national election.
Informing the Prince that he had not declared his assets this year as required by the Anti-Corruption Law, Mr. Yentieng sent Prince Thomico a letter on Monday night reminding him that if he did not pay, he could be sent to jail. However, Prince Thomico said that he had refused to accept the letter because it did not bear the ACU’s official emblem on the envelope.
Speaking at a press conference Wednesday with visiting U.N. human rights envoy to Cambodia Surya Subedi, Mr. Yentieng accused the prince of behaving as though he were above the law.
“There are 149 officials at the Royal Palace who are obliged to declare their assets in compliance with the law, including Prince Thomico. Why have 148 declared their assets, but not him?” he asked.
“Is he bigger than the National Assembly? Is he bigger than the Constitution or the Constitutional Council?” Mr. Yentieng asked.
“He wants to be a lawmaker? How can he when he doesn’t even follow a small law?… He said it is the royal institution. Is he king? He thinks he sits on the throne.”
Mr. Yentieng also insisted that his focus on the prince was a simple application of the rules, part of the Anti-Corruption Law that took effect in 2010.
“I am not doing it against Thomico. I am doing it for everyone,” he said.
The ACU chief also reiterated his intention to ask the courts to pursue Prince Thomico on his assets if he did not declare voluntarily within a week of the day the letter was presented to him.
“But before we do it, we give him a chance; we sent the warning letter to him to clarify that if he submits within a week, no one is going to take him anywhere.”
Under the law, those required to declare their assets but fail to do so can face up to a year in prison.
Prince Thomico continued Wednesday to insist that he was being targeted because he had joined the CNRP as a candidate. He said he would accept the letter if resubmitted in an ACU-endorsed envelope.
“If the letter is done properly, I will take it,” he said. “I will follow all the laws.”