Anti-Corruption Unit probes officer’s wealth

(Phnom Penh) : The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) on Wednesday announced that it has launched an investigation into the excessive wealth of Kandal provincial deputy police chief Sreng Sokha.

The probe comes following mounting criticism of photographs circulating on Facebook, showing Sokha purportedly giving $100,000, a set of lavish jewelry and a Lexus 570 worth of $220,000 to his fiancée at their engagement party on Sunday.

The photographs prompted the public to question the source of his wealth.

The ACU likened Sokha’s case to that of Kim Reaksmey, the former Ratanakkiri provincial Military Police commander who was sacked on February 9 at the order of King Norodom Sihamoni.

Regarding the investigation into Reaksmey’s case, the ACU said it has been completed.

The announcement was made after the ACU’s National Council Against Corruption held its 43rd meeting of the second mandate, attended by 20 officials and the council’s head, Top Sam.

The ACU claimed it has completed the reports on Reaksmey, his wife and three children, regarding the case. However, no results have been disclosed.

Earlier this month, a video clip emerged on Facebook, showing Reaksmey giving $100,000 to each of his five children at his birthday party.

Afterwards, photographs appeared on social media platforms showing a large house – allegedly belonging to Reaksmey – built with luxury timber.

This prompted the public to question the source of his wealth and whether he might have benefited from major forestry crimes in the province.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (Ansa) executive director San Chey lauded the ACU’s efforts to push investigations into the excessive wealth of government officials, but he also stressed the importance of transparency and fairness in the probes.

“It must be noted that some people acquire wealth in legitimate ways, so in order to avoid confusion and prevent abuse of such people, the ACU needs to be careful with its investigations,” he said.

Neither ACU president Om Yentieng, Kandal provincial police chief Eav Chamroeun nor Sreng Sokha could be reached for comment or clarification on Thursday.