Telecom Firm Takes Action Over Embezzlement

Telecom Cambodia has suspended a manager accused of stealing $230,000 and is preparing a legal complaint against him and a former senior employee in the firm’s finance office who supposedly received the missing money, a company official said.

Staff at Telecom Cambodia’s head office in Phnom Penh went on a one-day strike on Monday amid accusations that Sem Sam Ang, chief of the state-run company’s debt and income section, had embezzled payments from NeocomISP, a telecommunications and Internet provider, dating back to 2012.

The Phnom Penh headquarters of Telecom Cambodia (Jens Welding Ollgaard/The Cambodia Daily)
The Phnom Penh headquarters of Telecom Cambodia (Jens Welding Ollgaard/The Cambodia Daily)

During a meeting of senior staff members Tuesday morning, Mr. Sam Ang admitted that he improperly handled payments, according to Lim Samon, deputy director of administration, who attended the meeting.

But he said Mr. Sam Ang claimed that he had only ever dealt with the payments at the request of the director and deputy director of the finance and accounting department, who were his superiors.

“We have decided to suspend Mr. Sam Ang from Telecom temporarily, and will create a committee to investigate who else is in- volved in the missing money,” Mr. Samon said. “Sam Ang himself has already acknowledged that he was [involved].”

“Two people, Sam Ang and Khem Teng Soeun, will face court because they collected cash but did not transfer it into the Telecom bank account,” he said.

“Please, don’t think that you will be free because you have resigned already,” he added, referring to Mr. Teng Soeun, the former deputy director of finance and accounting, who left the firm in May.

Mr. Samon declined to comment on the potential involvement of Nay Samkol, the director of finance and accounting. Mr. Samkol also declined to comment on the scandal.

Contacted by telephone, Mr. Sam Ang denied that he had embezzled any money.

He explained that NeocomISP paid its accounts by both check and cash, and that he received some of the cash payments directly and passed them on to the finance department without properly documenting the transaction.

“At the time, they asked me to take the cash and give it to them so I just followed,” he said. “I did not keep the money, so how am I responsible?”

“I really regret this situation because I did not cause it but I have been suspended,” he added. “The deputy and the director received the cash so they must know where the money went. A single person cannot do this.”

Mr. Teng Soeun, the former deputy director, also denied any involvement in the embezzlement, adding that he never received money from Mr. Sam Ang.

“If he did give me money then I would have issued him a receipt,” he said. “Where is the evidence?”

Because the staff who went on strike Monday went back to work after Tuesday’s meeting, Mr. Teng Soeun said the case against him should be closed.

“I have resigned,” he said. “Why do they want to file a complaint against me? The people are back at work now—it’s not reasonable that they continue to investigate.”

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