Investigators have arrived in Kompong Thom province to pursue allegations that the provincial police chief and two of his deputies routinely accepted bribes of up to $7,000 in exchange for jobs or promotions, officials said on Thursday.
The Interior Ministry sent the inspection team after receiving a complaint from six police officials who accused their boss, Chou Sam An, and his deputies, Ith Kimsrun and Kheav Channy, of taking between $500 and $7,000 for assigning different roles within the police force.
Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Interior Minister Sar Kheng had assigned five inspectors to investigate the complaint.
Mr. Channy, one of the two accused deputy chiefs, said he met with three of the inspectors on Thursday for more than an hour.
“I told them I did not commit the crimes as accused in the complaint,” he said. “I did not take money for appointments and promotions.”
As for Brigadier General Sam An, he said: “I do not know…whether he took money from the appointments and promotions or not.”
Brig. Gen. Sam An said he had not yet been questioned because he had been in Phnom Penh for the Interior Ministry’s annual conference. He denied the bribery accusations, but said he was still concerned he might lose his job.
“I am worried about the investigation, because I think that my position as the provincial police chief would be lost if the upper level believes the explanation from the six complainants,” he said.
He said he intended to respond with a counterclaim and was collecting evidence to present to National Police chief Neth Savoeun and Mr. Kheng responding to his subordinates.
On Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Sam An claimed that the six police officials were actually the ones regularly accepting bribes to have their friends appointed, and made the complaint after the chief turned them down.
The complainants “came to me and asked me to arrange an appointment and promotion for their people, and they were not happy when I refused,” he said.