Siem Reap provincial police chief Sorth Nady has been named as a conspirator in a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) that accuses the provincial force’s personnel chief of soliciting bribes for promotions and embezzling money from salary books.
ACU investigations head Khun Sambo said the anti-graft agency was aware of “wrongful activities” taking place inside the Siem Reap police but would not yet take action, saying the public release of the complaint was to serve as a warning.
The February 18 complaint, which was made public by the ACU on Wednesday, accuses Mr. Nady and Sun Chamnan, the chief of personnel, of flagrant corruption.
“Police officials have recently filed a complaint against provincial police chief Sorth Nady and accused him of allowing Sun Chamnan, the head of the provincial [police’s] personnel office, to take bribes from police officials, and no one has dared to react,” it says.
“Some police officials have a bad feeling about Sorth Nady, as he has let Sun Chamnan do anything he wants, which will cause the CPP to lose strongly in Siem Reap due to the injustice.”
The complaint, written by anonymous officials inside the provincial police, says that most positions within the force are available for purchase, with the buyers of positions not necessarily required to show up for work.
“Some police officials who hold the ranks of captain and major work outside the unit and have other businesses in other places, but when there is an inspection, Mr. Sun Chamnan calls them and all are present,” it says.
The complaint also alleges that Mr. Chamnan’s brother was given a job as the head of a unit inside the force but has never come to work, and says some promotions have widely known prices.
“When commune police chiefs retire, they never let the deputy chiefs receive the promotion to chief unless they pay about $4,000 to $5,000,” it reads. “If the people do not pay, Sun Chamnan will get people from other communes to become the chief.
“Why has the ACU not seen the activities of Sun Chamnan, or has he given money to close the ACU’s mouth?”
Mr. Sambo, the head of the ACU’s investigations department, said Wednesday that the complaint was released to warn Mr. Nady and Mr. Chamnan to change their ways.
“We want them to stop doing wrong things immediately because the ACU has already received the complaint, but if we get a new complaint after this first warning on the website, we will summon [Mr. Chamnan] for questioning at the ACU,” he said.
Mr. Nady could not be reached Wednesday, but Mr. Chamnan denied the accusations, saying he did not have the power to promote staff and that he believes the complaint was made by officers who were overlooked for promotions.
“I have never taken money from any officials as a ransom for giving jobs as the accusation says, because we have a committee from the Interior Ministry that works when we are required to promote someone,” he said. “We just prepare the technical work for promotions, but the committee is responsible for the appointments.”
“I understand that this is an individual issue because a few people are not happy with me and they are complaining about me in order to defame [me],” he said. “I reported this to the provincial police chief but I don’t know what action he will take.”
Since its delayed creation in 2010, the ACU has made a habit of releasing complaints it receives against officials rather than investigating them—often even attaching extensive written defenses from the accused.
Preap Kol, director of Transparency International Cambodia, said Wednesday that the ACU was allowed by law to simply issue warnings, but said more proactive measures by the anti-graft body would be more effective.
“On the one hand, they are doing their job according to the mandate, but looking at the effectiveness of this, warning people and giving people the opportunity to make a correction is not in line with a zero-tolerance policy,” Mr. Kol said.
“The current strategy of the government…is that the ACU will implement a zero-tolerance policy, and this is not zero tolerance. Zero tolerance means that if they receive a complaint and find evidence, or investigate and find evidence, they punish.”
(Additional reporting by Alex Willemyns)