The director-general of state-run phone and Internet operator Telecom Cambodia has been fired amid an investigation into alleged embezzlement within the firm, a spokesman for the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications confirmed on Sunday.
The dismissal of Lay Marivo came after the ministry conducted a joint inspection with the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and decided that a management overhaul was necessary, according to a statement from the ministry dated Thursday.
While the statement says that mismanagement of the firm made it possible for employees to embezzle $230,000—leading to a drop in revenue and rising debt—ministry spokesman Hun Saroeun said it was too soon to say whether Mr. Maryvo would be charged with criminal wrongdoing.
“We cannot say anything more than this yet, and the replacement is just to improve management,” he said.
The ministry statement also said Meas Bo would be replaced as chairman of the board for the state telecoms firm. In a separate statement dated Friday, the ministry said the move was not punitive.
“Meas Bo is not involved in the problem,” the statement said, adding that he had been replaced because the new chairman, Khov Makara, an undersecretary of state at the ministry, was a more suitable match for Sorn Vy, Telecom Cambodia’s newly appointed acting director-general, who was previously a deputy director-general at the firm.
Thursday’s statement from the ministry said that the investigation, carried out by a working group of representatives from the ministry and the ACU, “found that there is a serious lack of management and leadership of Telecom Cambodia.”
“It really resulted in the embezzlement of $230,000 from the firm, unclear, ineffective, non-transparent and unaccountable management of revenue-expense, causing revenue to drop, debt to increase and a lot of loopholes,” the statement said.
The probe into Telecom Cambodia’s finances began after four employees were suspended last year over allegations that they were involved in embezzling $230,000 from the state-run phone operator and Internet service provider.
Sem Sam Ang, the firm’s director of debt and income, was suspended in September following a strike by staff who accused him of pocketing payments made to a private telecoms firm. Deputy finance director Khem Teng Soeun was also suspended over accusations of involvement in the scheme.
On October 20, Telecoms Cambodia put out a statement announcing that two more employees had been suspended over the scandal—Som Bouphallary, the firm’s deputy director of debt and income, and Nay Sam Kol, the finance director.
Mr. Saroeun, the spokesman, said it was too soon to say who was responsible for the embezzlement, as the investigation into the firm’s finances was ongoing.
“Irregularities were found in the firm as a whole, and the investigation is still being done. So we cannot refer specifically to any person yet,” he said.
“There is no deadline for [the completion of] the investigation yet,” he added. “When a result is found, the public will be informed.”