Prince Sisowath Thomico has declared his assets to the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), after the government body on Wednesday threatened to take him to court if he failed to do so.
Prince Thomico, a longtime spokesman for the royal family and the current personal secretary to the Queen Mother, said Sunday that given his new role in the recently formed opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), he would be stepping down from his position at the palace.
“I sent the documents declaring my assets to the ACU on Saturday morning because I want the international and national community to know there is no corruption related to the royal palace,” he said.
ACU president Om Yentieng said last week that Prince Thomico was the only member of the Royal family not to have declared his assets, an act required under Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Law, and could face up to one year in jail if he did not comply.
The push for the prince to do so came just hours after he had participated in a 3,000-strong CNRP rally at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park, where he criticized the government and the legacy of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Prince Thomico on Sunday said that showed that the threat from the ACU was politically motivated. “It shows the ACU is a tool the government uses to pressure the opposition party,” he said. “I also publicly declare that I will quit my position as the Queen Mother’s assistant, I will submit my resignation letter [on Wednesday] when I visit her.”
“I want the King and Queen Mother to be able to maintain their popularity and honor without the CPP dragging them into politics,” he explained.
On May 16, in a speech in Prey Veng province, Mr. Hun Sen lambasted Prince Thomico for accusing him of falsely claiming to represent the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk in his political campaigning for a National Assembly seat.
Mr. Yentieng confirmed he had received the asset declaration but denied the prince’s accusation that the ACU was a government tool.
“I received his asset declaration at 8 o’clock on Saturday, which means he has finished his requirements regarding the law,” he said.