A Phnom Penh printing house has filed a complaint at the municipal court seeking $12,400 from a top Funcinpec official, claiming he owes the money for campaign materials produced for the 2003 national elections.
The Daraneth Printing shop is seeking the money from Senior Minister Serei Kosal for hats and flags that the shop produced for Funcinpec’s election campaign in Battambang province, that the royalists never paid for, the shop’s owner, Hong Nareth, alleged Friday.
“The Funcinpec party owes me a lot of money under the order of Serei Kosal…but none of them was willing to pay it,” he said, adding that he filed the complaint several weeks ago.
“I sought help a few times from [Funcinpec President] Prince Norodom Ranariddh and [Funcinpec Secretary-General] Nhiek Bun Chhay but I never got a cent,” Hong Nareth said.
Serei Kosal said he is not responsible for paying the debt, and accused the printing house of exaggerating the cost of the campaign materials. “I acknowledge that there was some debt owed by Funcinpec’s working group in Battambang, but it is not that much. And it is not any business of mine to pay,” he said.
He also claimed that the printing house produced some hats or flags of insufficient quality, which the party refused to accept, but was still billed for.
Hong Nareth said it is up to the court to decide whether this is the case.
Funcinpec’s Cabinet chief Phann Sothy said in a statement last month that Serei Kosal was solely responsible for picking up the tab.
“The General Secretariat of the Funcinpec Party would like to note that the Funcinpec Party does not owe any fees,” he wrote.
Nhiek Bun Chhay also said it is up to Serei Kosal to foot the bill, and claimed this is not the only outstanding debt his colleague has racked up. “He has too many debts that he is not taking responsibility for,” Nhiek Bun Chhay said.
Municipal Court Prosecutor Ouk Savouth and Deputy Prosecutor Ngeth Sarath could not be reached for comment.