Report Alleges Graft at Coffel

The former director of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections administered a budget rife with overbilling, and relied on falsified receipts to divert $13,005 of donor’s funds before people within the organization discovered the wrongdoing late last year, according to a report prepared by his former staff.

The report, written at the re­quest of donors, condemns former Coffel executive director Sek So­­phal, but stops short of accu­sing him of intentionally misdirecting funds, saying instead the problems could have been the result of messy bookkeeping.

“I am aware that these are serious allegations of corruption,” reads a letter from current Coffel Executive Director Nguon So­pheap that accompanies the report. “I also feel, however, that I am not in a position to say whether these concerns are conclusive of the guilt or otherwise of Mr Sek Sophal.”

The report was distributed to donors and the Coffel board in late December; it has since led to Sek Sophal’s suspension and an audit being conducted by Price­WaterhouseCoopers.

The staff distributed a copy of their allegations Wednesday. The document was accompanied by supporting receipts for trips to the provinces that were allegedly never taken.

Overcharges for printing calendars, manuals and posters came to $7,350, according to the document, which also claimed $2,810 in inflated billing for a house rental and staff salaries. An air conditioner purchased with Coffel money and intended for Coffel offices was instead placed in Sek Sophal’s home, the report claims.

Donor funds came from ForumSYD, the Canadian Inter­national Development Agency, and The Asia Foundation. Ac­cording to the report, the National Democratic Institute bought the air conditioner.

A spokesman from ForumSYD said he is awaiting the audit results. “There’s really not much to comment on yet,” said Bjorn Ted­eman, deputy field director for ForumSYD.

Sek Sophal has not been charged with any crime, and at least one donor said he didn’t see enough evidence to pursue the investigation.


Related Stories

Latest News