Om Yentieng Asked to Pursue Alleged Corruption

Om Yentieng, head of the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), has been asked in an anonymous and undated letter to follow up on accusations of corruption by tax officials in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, which allegedly came to light in 2012 but have not resulted in any punitive action.

While the letter was posted to the ACU’s website on Friday, the body also posted an accompanying statement warning media outlets not to republish the letter.

“The Anti-Corruption Unit has received a letter that criticizes me [Om Yentieng], and the Anti-Corruption Unit would like to help the writer disseminate the letter so that you [the writer] don’t have to bother taking the letter to Hang Meas TV, which could lead to someone filing a lawsuit against you,” the ACU said in its statement, addressing the anonymous letter-writer.

“Do not republish. Those who republish have to be responsible for themselves,” the ACU added at the bottom of the statement.

The letter alleges that Om Yentieng—whom the writer sometimes addresses as Mr. Tieng—was aware that officials in the Mean-chey district tax office were implicated in corruption at gas stations, but failed to take action.

The letter accuses Mr. Yentieng of failing to pursue charges against Say Sophal, chief of the district tax department, and Liv Bonthorn, his deputy, because of their connections to a CPP senator.

“On March 28, 2012, you led some 20 associates in cracking down on corruption and arrested 16 of Say Sophal’s men. The tax chief in Meanchey district committed corruption at 46 gas stations in Meanchey district,” the letter says.

The letter goes on to allege that Mr. Yentieng is ignoring the case because Mr. Sophal is related to CPP Senator Tep Ngorn, the second president of the Senate.

“When Mr. Tieng found out that Say Sophal’s father-in-law [is] Tep Ngorn, immediately Mr. Tieng’s tears dropped and [he] dared not do something to Mr. Say Sophal,” the letter says.

“If you don’t confirm Say Sophal and Liv Bonthorn’s corruption and bring them to court for prosecution, no one will respect your unit,” it continues.

Mr. Yentieng could not be reached for comment. Por Sovanareth, cabinet chief for Mr. Ngorn, referred questions about the allegations in the letter to Mr. Sophal, who also could not be reached.

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