After spending two-and-a-half years on sick leave, the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s erstwhile chief of administration has taken a new job helming Apsara TV.
Sean Visoth started work yesterday as general director of the government-aligned station, according to Nuth Bophann, Apsara’s deputy general director.
“He is a highly educated person, speaks English, knows about computers, and is a quick decision-maker, so I am confident that the work’s progress will be good,” Mr Bophann said. He added that Mr Visoth had already instructed his staff to organize a monthly televised boxing competition and stage a live concert at NagaWorld casino.
It remained unclear yesterday whether Mr Visoth was still nominally the tribunal’s director of administration. He was placed on sick leave in November 2008 amid allegations that he had collected cash kickbacks from the court’s Cambodian staff.
Although Mr Visoth has spent nearly as much time on leave as he did on active duty, the court has remained tight-lipped on his employment status.
Reach Sambath, head of public affairs for the tribunal, said he was unsure what Mr Visoth’s current position was with the court.
“We almost forget this issue,” he said.
Mr Sambath declined to answer further questions on the topic, saying only: “What I can tell you is that I have no comment on the former director of administration.”
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he had “no idea” what Mr Visoth’s status at the court was, or whether he still served as executive secretary of the government’s Khmer Rouge trials task force. “I’m not in charge of human resources,” he said, referring all questions to Mr Visoth himself, who declined to comment.
However, Mr Siphan noted that government officials are not permitted to accept full-time jobs with private companies.
Clair Duffy, a court monitor for the Open Society Justice Initiative, said that if Mr Visoth were still attached to the court, his new role at Apsara should be publicly disclosed for transparency’s sake.
“And given the allegations against Visoth, you would think there would be some public declaration if he was no longer occupying that position—or there should be,” she added.