The controversial executive director of SISHA in Cambodia Steve Morrish today handed in his resignation. The board of the charity has accepted it and appointed an interim CEO Mr. Ron Dunne.
The former Victoria, Australia, detective leaves the organisation amid allegations of financial impropriety and bullying tactics. His departure he said would leave him free to defend himself against these allegations.
The founder of South East Asia Investigations into Social and Humanitarian Activities said: ‘The Board of SISHA has appointed KPMG to undertake and independent review and I am confident this will put to rest allegations of financial impropriety against me.”
The board thanked him for his ‘tireless work’ and for deferring his salary for four years.
Full statement below:
There had been rumblings in Phnom Penh for quite a while and the press statement confirmed that Morrish had been talking about ‘succession planning’ for some time.
But today’s resignation came with 24 hours of this site publishing the reports of two sacked directors, Sean Looney, and Jeff Rodwell into alleged financial irregularities coupled with complaints of how Morrish in a bid to preserve his reputation caused a lock-in with 11 colleagues at the Garage Bar in Phnom Penh, one of the drinking holes of members of the local internet forum Khmer 440.
He allegedly demanded to know the identity of his critics and threatened drinkers with deportation from Cambodia.
Khmer 440 had run a critical thread – now closed and hidden to the public – about the recent heavy handed activities of SISHA.
Both Sean Looney and Jeff Rodwell, ex directors who had access to SISHA’s accounts, complained about accounting procedures, particularly with regard to Morrish’s back pay totalling some US$134,000.
The whistleblowers claimed he had no right to take the cash for his salary, which had been specifically donated for other projects and that he had not been frank when he said he had the permission of the board.
Crucial to the allegations is what executive powers Morrish had to allocate those funds to his salary.
Morrish, it was claimed by some, was SISHA personified; Sorry I Should Have Asked.