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Military cracks down on corrupt officials

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Mey Phanith. Swift News

Days after Lieutenant General Hun Manet ordered a crackdown on corruption in his forces, a personal assistant within the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces was arrested for allegedly receiving payment in exchange for a job.

Lt Gen Manet, RCAF’s deputy commander-in-chief, on Thursday ordered a crackdown on possible cases of corruption, including officials demanding money from potential recruits in order to secure them jobs.

“The selection of commanders and chiefs of staff requires a committee to evaluate and ensure transparency and efficiency in the selection process, and the evaluation is conducted in two to three phases,” he said while speaking at a ceremony to appoint the new Preah Sihanouk provincial military commander.

He also stressed that the selection process must be transparent and fair.

“There were some people saying that you need to spend $100,000 [in exchange for a position as a commander or chief of staff], so I am investigating,” he said. “If there is such a case, please report it to me or to the Anti-Corruption Unit or the Supreme Council, because it is strictly prohibited.”

“The selection for such positions will evaluate work achievements and willingness to serve the nation, not buying a seat,” he added.

Lt Gen Manet called on all military officers to report to him any suspected cases of bribery in exchange for a position in the military.

Lieutenant General Hun Manet. KT/Siv Channa

Days later on Saturday, penal police in Phnom Penh arrested 44-year-old Mey Phanith, an assistant in charge of material at RCAF’s Air Force headquarters, over allegations she cheated nearly 20 people out of more than $120,000 by promising them jobs if they paid her cash.

Phnom Penh penal police chief Colonel Eng Sorphea yesterday said his officers arrested the suspect in Sen Sok district’s Kraing Thnong commune and then sent her to Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

He noted that the suspect is detained as an investigation continues.

Phnom Penh police chief Lieutenant General Sar Thet yesterday said the suspect was arrested after failing to appear for questioning at Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“We followed a court order related to fraud allegations in relation to obtaining a job as a military officer,” he said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court deputy prosecutor Khieu Phalla and Investigating Judge Yech Chheanavy, who had summoned the suspect for questioning, declined to comment yesterday.

Major General Prak Sokha, a spokesman for the Royal Cambodian Air Force, confirmed yesterday that Ms Phanith worked for the Royal Cambodian Air Force.

He noted that investigators are looking into whether she cheated nearly 20 people out of more than $120,000 after promising them positions in the Defence Ministry.

“I am still investigating this case,” he said.

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