Dozens of employees of Telecom Cambodia protested outside the state-owned company’s head office in Phnom Penh on Monday over allegations that a manager pocketed $230,000 in payments from a private firm.
Sorn Vy, a spokesman for Telecom Cambodia, said about 60 employees walked off the job Monday over suspicions that the head of the firm’s debt and income section, embezzled payments dating back to 2012 from NeocomISP, a telecommunications and Internet provider.
“The staff walked out and did not work because they were suspicious and wondered where the money had gone,” Mr. Vy said, adding that payments supposed to be made to Telecom Cambodia failed to show up on account records.
“Someone checked the Telecom accounts and saw that the money hadn’t been transferred,” he said.
“The Neocom Internet company already made the payments to Telecom…maybe someone kept them for their personal use, but we can’t accuse anyone until we have checked,” Mr. Vy said.
Nobody has been suspended over the missing money, he said, adding that Telecom Cambodia was conducting an internal investigation.
Sem Sam Ang, chief of the debt and income section, denied the claims against him, and said he had only passed the cash to the company’s finance department.
“I used to collect the debt from the company and I did sign and put my name on the payments. At the time, I took the cash from the company then gave it to the director of finance,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable that this is happening to me, I just collected it and I’m not the person responsible for transferring the money.”
Mr. Vy said he did not know when the striking staff might return to work, but that a meeting would be held with them this morning.
The latest scandal at Telecom Cambodia comes more than two years after former director-general Lao Saroeun resigned in February 2013 amid an investigation into allegations that he stole millions of dollars from the company’s accounts.
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