A Kompong Thom provincial police officer has been moved to the Ministry of Interior in Phnom Penh while authorities investigate a CNRP provincial councilor’s claims that senior provincial police officials have been siphoning off parts of their subordinates’ salaries, officials said Sunday.
CNRP provincial councilor Sun Chanthy filed complaints last week with the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), the Interior Ministry, the Senate and the National Assembly’s anti-corruption commission accusing leaders of the Kompong Thom provincial police force of taking cuts from the wages of approximately 400 of their subordinates.
Responding to the complaint, provincial police chief Chou Sam An said that he was aware of only one corrupt official in the province—Choem Leakhena, deputy chief of the provincial police’s accounting bureau.
In a letter signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng on October 17, Mr. Leakhena is ordered to leave his position in Kompong Thom and take up a post in the ministry’s personnel department while he is investigated for “irregularity in paying the positions and ranks.”
Mr. Sam An reiterated Sunday that Mr. Leakhena was alone in carrying out the alleged corruption.
“He [Mr. Leakhena] alone was in charge of salaries,” Mr. Sam An said. “He committed the crime alone.”
“We just found out recently when paying the promotion payments,” he said, referring to a recent round of raises for police in the province. “We did not pay attention to him in the past.”
If police find Mr. Leakhena guilty, he will be prosecuted according to “police law” and made to pay back the amount stolen, National Police spokesman Kirth Chantarith said Sunday.
“We received the report from the provincial police that he had taken officers’ payments, and the provincial police instructed him to pay the full [salaries] but he still did not pay them,” Lieutenant General Chantharith said.
Chhay Savuth, vice chairman of the ACU, said Sunday that he was not aware of the case, referring questions to ACU chairman Om Yentieng, who could not be reached.