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Ministry dismisses corruption allegations

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:

The Ministry of Cults and Religion held a private meeting with the Civil Service Ministry last week in which it dismissed corruption allegations against some senior officials circulating on Facebook and local news websites.

The accusations were against Keo Sotheary, director-general of the administration and financial department at the ministry, and other senior officials.

Mr Sotheary was allegedly involved in a recruitment scheme in which he collected up to $5,000 from prospective civil servants looking to join the upper echelons of the ministry. Mr Sotheary could not be reached for comment.

Ministry spokesman Seng Somony said yesterday that the private meeting determined the allegations are baseless and stemmed from a “misunderstanding”.

“We solved this problem already,” Mr Somony said. “It was a misunderstanding.”

Nuon Bunna, an undersecretary of state with the ministry, said last week’s meeting took place on July 13, and that the corruption allegations also spread to budgets for professors at the Buddhist Preah Sihanouk Raja University, which is under the ministry.

Ms Bunna then declined to comment further.

Preak Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said the ministry is conducting an investigation into corruption allegations behind closed doors, failing in the government’s duty to be transparent with citizens.

“The Ministry of Cults and Religion should promptly respond to these allegations publicly,” Mr Kol said. “In addition, an independent investigation should be conducted to find out the truth.”

Public Service Minister Pech Bunthin could not be reached for comment.

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