Opposition Lawmaker Denies He Embezzled Border Money

Opposition lawmaker Real Camerin has written to the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) denying accusations that he embezzled the majority of $55,000 he allegedly raised to help pay for trips to inspect the border with Vietnam.

On July 31, less than two weeks after Mr. Camerin led about 2,500 supporters to examine alleged Vietnamese border violations in Svay Rieng province, ACU chairman Om Yentieng wrote to the CNRP lawmaker asking him to respond to claims that he seized the funds for his own use.

In a letter sent Friday and obtained Sunday, Mr. Camerin, who is presently in the U.S., denied the accusations—that he raised $55,000 and took the funds for personal use—saying they were intended to damage his reputation.

“I wish to inform your excellency that I did not receive or embezzle the money in the amount of tens of thousands of dollars for use in traveling to see border posts on the border of Cambodia and Vietnam, as the ACU accuses,” he said.

“That accusation was made in an attempt to defame me,” Mr. Camerin said. “I have received money from charitable people inside and outside of the country totaling $20,750 to be used for traveling to see the border posts.”

“The budget was spent to rent buses and to buy flags, food and other materials, and the budget was managed by various [CNRP] working groups,” he said.

“I wish to ask the ACU to…find the bad people who have tried to defame me,” he added, referring to the three complaints the ACU said it received regarding the alleged embezzlement.

Mr. Yentieng said Sunday that he had not yet seen the letter from Mr. Camerin and declined to comment on whether the ACU would investigate the claims against the lawmaker.

“You should understand the law, as now is not the stage for an investigation,” Mr. Yentieng said. “We are not going to investigate unless we get more evidence.”

“At this time, we are going about collecting information. We are only working on A and B, and you are asking me about X, Y and Z.”

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