A newly published document suggests the recently transferred head of Cambodia’s National Defence University was embroiled in a scandal of nepotism and corruption at the time of his dismissal in March.
Oung Sean was removed from his post on March 2 following an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Unit. An ACU document dated February 1 and published by local media on Monday outlines a litany of irregularities. It was not clear how the outlets obtained the document, which the ACU has not publicly released.
Signed by ACU head Om Yentieng, the document accuses Sean of hiring 70 of his relatives, who received a monthly salary though none of them actually worked.
The document also alleged that Sean sold 12 department director positions for $3,000 to $4,000 and five deputy director positions for $4,000 to $5,000. The university is responsible for training military officials.
Sean also reportedly ordered subordinates to gather bribe money from promoted soldiers, charging $200 to $400 to lieutenants and $500 to $1,000 for majors.
In regards to the accusations against Sean, Chum Socheat, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, said: “I do not know about it.”
Socheat confirmed that Sean was transferred within the ministry to an administrative role with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Socheat said Sean’s replacement, Chea Dara, “had a lot of experience in the battlefield so he can lead better than his excellency Oung Sean”.
“Transferring is part of the reform of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces,” he said. “Whenever someone does not develop, we change to a new one.”
Defence Minister Tea Banh declined to comment while Yentieng could not be reached.
San Chey, country director for the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said he appreciated the action taken by the ACU but said there are more cases that the ACU will “have to investigate”.
Chey said Sean should be “punished” for his crimes, and hoped that his reassignment was only temporary “while he waits for final decision by ACU”.
However, a Post investigation previously found that government officials are rarely ever fired, but rather shuffled around in a series of transfers and reassignments. Sean could not be reached for comment.
Additional reporting by Andrew Nachemson