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Gov’t Issues Warning to Telecomms Firms Over Unpaid Debts


The entrance to the Telecom Cambodia building in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Courtesy of Facebook)

The government added that further steps, such as freezing bank accounts, prohibiting imports and exports and the removal of licenses could also follow.

The government has called on telecommunications companies to pay outstanding debts and said it would publicly name and shame the companies if they failed to do so.

In a statement published more than two weeks ago, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications said they would reveal the names of the companies and directors of the firms that had failed to pay taxes, as well as the amount owed.

They added that further steps, such as freezing bank accounts, prohibiting imports and exports and the removal of licenses could also follow.

The announcement on Thursday followed the appointment earlier in the week of Sok Puthyvuth, the son of a former deputy prime minister and son-in-law to Prime Minister Hun Sen, to the board of governors of Telecom Cambodia. Puthyvuth is also an undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.

Officials at both ministries declined to give further details of the companies or amounts involved.

Sath Monyvibol, a Ministry of Post and Telecommunication official, said he was in the dark about which businesses owed the debt to the state.

“I don’t know what the companies are, I am telling you frankly. I know nothing,” he said.

“As you are aware, when we try to demand [money] from others, we must be industrious. If not, there will be nothing,” he added.

When asked whether the appointment of Puthyvuth would persuade debtors to pay their debt, he said he was unaware of Puthyvuth’s appointment.

Telecom Cambodia, which is a state-run enterprise, has itself experienced corruption scandals, leading to the dismissal of one of its director generals.

In 2016, Lay Marivo, then director general of Telecom Cambodia, was dismissed amid a probe which found his mismanagement of the firm made it possible for employees to embezzle $230,000, according to a report by the Cambodia Daily, which itself halted operations in 2017 after being handed a large tax bill by the government that it was unable to pay.

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