Opposition Lawmaker Asked to Explain Corruption Claims

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has requested that opposition lawmaker Real Camerin respond to allegations he embezzled most of the $55,000 he apparently raised to help pay for trips to inspect Vietnamese encroachments into Cambodia along the country’s eastern border.

In a letter dated July 31 and obtained Tuesday, ACU chairman Om Yentieng said the unit has received three complaints against Mr. Camerin, a lawmaker for Svay Rieng province, accusing him of raising the money in his capacity as a lawmaker but then taking most of it for personal use.

Opposition lawmaker Real Camerin speaks with military police during a trip to the Vietnamese border in Svay Rieng province on July 19. (Alex Willemyns/The Cambodia Daily)
Opposition lawmaker Real Camerin speaks with military police during a trip to the Vietnamese border in Svay Rieng province on July 19. (Alex Willemyns/The Cambodia Daily)

“Please, your excellency, provide answers in the attached documents in order to allow the Anti-Corruption Unit to make evaluations before making a decision on whether to continue with procedures,” Mr. Yentieng wrote in the letter.

The letter does not name who the allegations came from but says that “most” of the money Mr. Camerin is said to have raised was embezzled.

Reached by telephone, Mr. Yentieng said the ACU is patiently awaiting a response from Mr. Camerin.

“We basically have not set a deadline because it would seem really dictatorial, because this issue is now in the beginning stage—for researching, collecting information—and not in the investigating stage yet,” Mr. Yentieng said.

“For the investigating stage, it will have different procedures, but we are now in the stage of asking questions and collecting answers,” he said. “The information I’ve received so far is that he is in the U.S. but he received [the letter.]”

“I’ve heard he is preparing to give clarifications.”

Mr. Camerin, who left for the U.S. last month according to the CNRP, could not be contacted for comment.

However, acting CNRP spokesman Ou Chanrith said it was not the ACU’s job to investigate how Mr. Camerin spends the money he raises.

“We are really surprised to hear that the ACU has asked for an answer on this case,” he said. “I do not think this case is under the jurisdiction of the ACU.”

“If such a case is under its jurisdiction, it should do many other investigations into fundraising for Katin festival and other people’s flower festivals,” Mr. Chanrith added.

“In particular, the ACU should focus on those with a salary of roughly $300 in a government position, but who drive very expensive vehicles worth $150,000.”

Mr. Yentieng dismissed Mr. Chanrith’s claim that Mr. Camerin’s fundraising fell outside the ACU’s purview.

“If this isn’t the jurisdiction of the Anti-Corruption Unit, then which institution’s jurisdiction is it?” he asked.

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