‘I Am Not Corrupt,’ Police Chief Asserts
Siem Reap police chief Soth Nady has responded to a complaint that there is widespread corruption, nepotism and a reluctance to crack down on illegal gambling, the sex trade and drug trafficking in the province’s police force.
The anonymous three-page complaint was submitted to the Anti-Corruption Unit early last year by officers who say they work for Mr. Nady.
Mr. Nady’s written response to the ACU, dated October 26, was published on the graft-busting agency’s website on Monday.
Mr. Nady has been a stellar leader of the province’s police force and is beyond reproach, according to his letter, which is also signed by Siem Reap town police chief Tit Narong. Mr. Narong had also been accused of corruption in the complaint to the ACU, which said senior officers bought their positions rather than being appointed by merit.
Higher ranks allow officers to reap a bigger share of the money gained from corruption and police complicity in criminal activities, such as drug trafficking, prostitution and illegal gambling, the complaint said.
Mr. Nady said there was no nepotism in the appointment of officers in the province. The appointment of officers was discussed in meetings with relevant agencies following transparent recommendations from the police department and with the agreement of police units, Mr. Nady said.
Allegations that officer Mok Bora – who is described as a proxy for the police chief in the complaint to the ACU – had ordered officers under him to pay him $100 a month had been referred to the province’s deputy police chief for investigation, Mr. Nady wrote in his letter. Allegations that Mr. Bora had also been reluctant to suppress criminal activity, including illegal gambling, prostitution and drug dealing, are also being investigated, Mr. Nady said.
“I did not order Mr. Bora to extort money from gambling and prostitution dens in the province,” he told the ACU.
“On the contrary, our provincial police have done their best to ensure the security of villages and communes [in the province],” Mr. Nady wrote, adding that a nightclub named in the complaint against him – BSC – had been shut down. The complaint to the ACU identified the nightclub as a venue for drug consumption and distribution.
“In regard to the suppression of illegal gambling, prostitution and drug dealing, our provincial police led many operations to suppress these crimes,” Mr. Nady wrote.
Mr. Narong, who is also named in the complaint as an officer who is both complicit in corruption and hesitant to tackle crime, also denied any wrongdoing. He said there had been no dispute about the appointment of police officers for two years because the process was supervised by his superior – Mr. Nady – as well as the human resource office of the police force.
“I never dared to appoint police officers by my own will,” Mr. Narong is quoted as saying in the letter. He denied the allegation that the chiefs of 13 stations in the town were required to pay him $100 each a month to keep their posts. He said he would take responsibility for this crime if it was true.
In February 2015, police officers in Siem Reap province filed a complaint to the ACU, saying that Mr. Nady allowed Sun Chamnan – president of the human resource office – to do whatever he wanted.
Officers feared Mr. Chamnan because he had been given carte blanche by Mr. Nady, the three-page complaint said.
The complaint said that low-ranking officers lacked respect for higher-ranking officers because they believed their superiors received their positions based on relationships with those above them rather than competency.
Mr. Chamnan’s brother extorted $3,000 to $4,000 from officers in order to get higher ranks, the complaint said.
Chay Savuth, deputy president of the ACU, could not be reached for comment.
Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said a survey by his NGO found that the perception that police were corrupt was widespread. Even those surveyed who work in the police force, the military and the courts said there was widespread corruption around them, but few people complained about it, Mr. Kol said.
“The impact of the corruption is devastating. It causes people to lose confidence in authorities,” he explained.
Cambodia is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according to corruption-perception indexes published by Transparency International. Corruption hinders development, threatens political and social stability and is a root cause of poverty, Transparency International has said.
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