Seven Banteay Meanchey officials claimed they did not know if a provincial hospital director accused of extortion had been relieved of his position, despite local media reporting the termination.
The Banteay Meanchey health department created an investigation team to look into accusations that Chan Vuthy Navuth, the director of Cambodia-Japan Friendship Hospital in Mongkol Borei district, had demanded that a patient pay up before receiving treatment.
The patient was a Bodyguard Unit staffer, named Ly An, who was waiting for an emergency surgery at the hospital.
Local news outlet Kampuchea Thmey reported on Tuesday morning that Chan Vuthy Navuth had been relieved of his position as hospital director, citing confirmation from provincial governor Oum Reatrey.
Seven senior officials in the province refused to comment on the termination, including the governor.
The director, Chan Vuthy Navuth, pleaded with a reporter to not ask about whether he had been terminated.
“Oh. I’m sorry. I beg. End it. I am feeling so sad. I beg, please. Enough!” he said.
Le Changsangvath, director of the provincial health department, attempted to direct questions first to a department spokesperson and then to the provincial administration.
“I sent my report to the provincial administration. You can ask Mr. Kraiyong, because generally I am now under the provincial administration,” he said, referring to the provincial administration director Chhoeun Kraiyong, who in turn routed queries back to Changsangvath.
Rouen Sothy, deputy director of the health department said he was busy collecting Covid-19 samples, whereas another deputy health department director, Heng Kimsoth, said he was unaware of a decision to terminate the hospital director.
A person who picked up the phone of Rath Chea Sinong, the governor of Mongkol Borei district, said he was not the governor. Kampuchea Thmey reported that deputy hospital director Tu Barang had replaced Navuth, but Barang said he had not heard of an official appointment yet.
Governor Reatrey said he was busy and a reporter could not reach provincial spokesperson Rus Sotheary on the telephone or Telegram.
Reatrey posted photos of himself earlier this week donating blood for the Bodyguard Unit staffer’s surgery and said the former hospital director was unethical.
“What kind of management is this,” he asked in a Facebook post. “This should be considered for a manager who does not care about ethics and does not know how to manage work. This is not the first time that people have complained about the hospital’s services.”