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Mondulkiri officials in land row

The director of Mondulkiri’s provincial department of mines and energy yesterday vowed to sue his counterpart in the department of culture and fine arts for defamation, saying he had falsely accused him of seizing two hectares of land in Sen Monorom town.

Speaking at a meeting at the Mondulkiri Provincial Hall, San Sarith claimed Srey Touch had told his own superiors in the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts that Sarith misappropriated the 2.06-hectare plot, even though it was in fact properly allocated to his department in 2013.

“He . . . ruined my reputation and dignity . . . by accusing me of grabbing land belonging to his department for private ownership,” Sarith told to the meeting. “I will sue him for defamation in court so that he will learn his lesson and stop madly reporting to his leaders.”

According to Sarith, when the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy was split into Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts in 2013, his new provincial department was given the 2.06-hectare plot to run its operations.

Reached by telephone, Touch denied having made the remarks as claimed by Sarith. “For now, I do not want to reply and make the confusion last any longer. I just want to tell the media that I did not say or report about this case,” he said.

“However, if he thinks he has evidence and is ready to sue me, I will confront him in court.”

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