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Funcinpec leaders ‘to sell off headquarters’

High-ranking members of the royalist Funcinpec party have said they are set to file a court complaint against the party’s senior leaders for allegedly attempting to sell the party’s headquarters for their own personal gain.

Sok Sa Vann, a member of the party’s steering committee, maintained yesterday that Funcinpec Secretary General Nhek Bun Chhay – along with party president Princess Norodom Arun Rasmey and her husband Keo Puthrasmey – was conspiring to sell party assets without the approval of the steering committee.

Other party officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, echoed Sa Vann’s allegations.

“We are studying with our lawyers to prepare a complaint to the court in order to maintain the political legacy and the assets of the late King Norodom Sihanouk, and the complaint will be completed no later than this month,” Sa Vann said.

According to Sa Vann, the plans to sell the headquarters were announced at a December 22 meeting of only 160 of the party’s 340 steering committee members – a figure insufficient for a quorum – and was not put to a vote.

Bun Chhay presented the sale as a means of paying down an $800,000 loan from Canadia Bank, but the property in question is worth substantially more, Sa Vann said, adding that the remainder was destined for the party leadership’s pockets.

The alleged move, he added, is just the latest in a long string of sell-offs of party assets.

Bun Chhay denied the allegations yesterday, but did acknowledge that selling the headquarters was under consideration by the steering committee. However, he faulted Sa Vann’s attendance count for Sunday’s meeting, saying that of only 200 active steering committee members, 177 attended.

“Among the 177 steering committee members, only Sa Vann opposed the initial idea for moving the office closer to central Phnom Penh in order to make it easier for the national and international [delegations] to access it for meetings with Funcinpec,” Bun Chhay said, noting that a final decision had not been made.

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