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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hun Sen threatens to abolish ministries

Hun Sen threatens to abolish ministries

PRIME Minister Hun Sen warned he may dismantle the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance because of an ongoing dispute between the Department of Customs and Excise and Camcontrol, which falls under the Ministry of Commerce.

The disagreement centres on control of the country's customs committee, he said.

"The two men have bad blood," said Hun Sen, referring to Pen Simon, chief of the department of customs, which controls tariffs; and Mok Pichrith, chief of Camcontrol, which controls food safety.

The premier lashed out at the officials during a ceremony to inaugurate a new crane at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port at the end of last week.

"Why are they negotiating an agreement between the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Finance? It is like the two ministries are independent states," said Hun Sen. "There should be an inter-ministerial announcement, not an agreement. If this continues, I will dismantle the two ministries and combine them."

The customs department has the role of chairman and Camcontrol appoints the deputy to the government committee for customs control.

"If the chairman does not give the order, the deputy cannot do anything," said the premier.

He said the two units have joint responsibility for imports. "We created a one-stop service to let the two units work together. The two must harmonise."

Neither Pen Simon nor Mok Pichrith could be reached for comment.

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