An official in the Interior Ministry’s anti-economic crime department has been jailed for corruption for illicitly taking money from about 100 businesses in Phnom Penh, officials said on Friday.
A colleague was being sought for related charges, and remained free as of on Sunday afternoon, according to Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Y Rin.
Huy Hoeun, deputy director of the department’s intellectual property office, was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and charged on Thursday by Investigating Judge Bun Thy, according to Ly Sophana, another municipal court spokesman.
Mr. Hoeun is facing the charge of misappropriation of public funds, which carries a prison sentence of two to five years and a fine of 4 to 10 million riel, or about $1,000 to $2,500.
Mr. Sophana said that another official at the department, Em Kosal, was facing the same charges and had been placed under court supervision.
Om Yentieng, chairman of the ACU, said the agency had already sent a request to the municipal court to arrest Mr. Kosal. Asked for more information about the case, he scolded a reporter for asking too many questions while an investigation was ongoing.
Mr. Yentieng referenced a letter sent to The Cambodia Daily about a separate article in which he threatened journalists with prison time if they violated the anti-corruption law.
“This time, if there are any problems causing difficulties for my work and violating the law, I will sue, let me say that,” the chairman said on Friday. “In this case, we have been following it for five to six months, it affects more than 100 companies, do you think that it can be quiet?”
Chan Vanthoeun, director of the anti-economic crime department, said he was not aware of the case.
According to a statement released by the ACU, Mr. Hoeun illicitly collected money—ranging from between $5 to $1,000 at a time—from more than 100 companies since he took up the post in Phnom Penh 10 months ago.
The official, the statement said, “collected money for several months and the last time was on 21 March at a coffee shop, so the Anti-Corruption Unit arrested him and followed court procedures.”