Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday issued an injunction asking the Phnom Penh Post newspaper to pay $260,000 in compensation to its former CEO Chris Dawe, who sued the newspaper over wrongful dismissal.
Municipal court spokesman Ly Sophanna said that the court was implementing a verdict of the Appeal Court, which upheld a municipal court ruling in favour of Mr Dawe.
“Court officers implemented the verdict of the Appeal Court, which was dated February 13, 2018,” he said.
Deputy prosecutor Kham Sophary and officials visited the Phnom Penh Post office yesterday, instructing the paper that it had 20 days to pay the compensation or face seizure of property.
In a statement released yesterday evening, current CEO Marcus Holmes said that the case is still in the appeal process as the paper has brought it to the Supreme Court.
Huy Vannak, president of the Union of Journalist Federations of Cambodia, encouraged the owner of the Post to settle the dispute properly with Mr Dawe so it would not cause any trouble for the Khmer staff working there.
“It is an internal dispute with the owner of the paper, which will really have an impact if the owner does not pay attention to resolve the issue and comply with the labour law,” he said. “We are concerned about the Khmer staff working there if the paper has a problem.”
Meanwhile, the paper has also been undergoing a tax audit, which apparently shows that it owes about $3.9 million in taxes, according to a report by AEC News Today last month.
The AEC report said the Post would need a massive cash injection within the next 60 days, noting that it was hit with a tax penalty of $3.9 million and could possibly close down.
However, Mr Holmes said in a statement on March 20 that the paper was undergoing a routine tax audit by Cambodia’s General Department of Taxation.
“The Post is not at risk of closure, as some inaccurate media reports have suggested,” Mr Holmes said following the AEC report.
“Tax audits are a normal part of doing business, and the GDT has audited many other businesses in Cambodia in the same way,” he added. “The exact figures involved are confidential.”