The author of a petition alleging corrupt practices among two of his former superiors in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) in Banteay Meanchey province clarified on Friday that he has yet to officially lodge a complaint with local rights group Adhoc, while a signatory on the petition said the document was years old and he considered the complaint resolved.
On Thursday, a member of the armed forces sent a copy of his 16-page complaint and petition, signed by 41 soldiers based in Banteay Meanchey, to the provincial office of Adhoc.
However, Adhoc provincial coordinator Soum Chankea said the document dates from 2010 and the soldier had yet to fill out an official complaint form, which is required if the organization is to investigate the allegations made against a provincial military commander and a deputy.
“We are studying those documents,” Mr. Chankea said, adding that he was waiting for the soldier to file his complaint directly to his office.
Colonel Vann Chhom, former deputy commander of Banteay Meanchey provincial RCAF and a representative of the signatories, claimed the troops had tried to lodge their complaint over the past three years with numerous authorities, but each time their request went unanswered.
Col. Chhom confirmed that he had sent the complaint to Adhoc, and would now meet with the other signatories to determine if an official request to Adhoc would be made to pursue the many allegations of serious malfeasance in the detailed 16-page report.
The petitioners claimed the original complaint, compiled in 2010, was sent to the offices of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Minister of Defense General Tea Banh, RCAF commanders and the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit.
However, Colonel Huy Vuthy, also a former deputy commander in Banteay Meanchey who is now based in Phnom Penh, said the Defense Ministry sent an investigating team to the province following the submission of the complaint in 2010, which focused on a commander and his deputy pocketing a percentage of soldiers’ and veterans’ salaries and rice rations.
“The Ministry of Defense also sent an inspecting committee to solve this case already, so I don’t want to be involved in this case again,” Col. Vuthy said.
Brigadier General Phlorn Dara, RCAF commander in Banteay Meanchey province, declined to comment on the petition Friday, as did three other senior RCAF commanders.