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Pailin’s ex-governor denies $400,000 corruption claim

Pailin province’s ex-governor and provincial council president Y Chhien yesterday denied corruption allegations against him, describing the claims as politically motivated.

The two opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party members on the nine-seat provincial council accused Chhien in mid-October of misusing $400,000 in state funds and exploiting Pailin’s natural resources for personal gain. They said they would file a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Unit and ask that Chhien be questioned in the National Assembly.

In a rare response to his detractors, Chhien pointed yesterday to his achievements as governor, and hinted that the opposition councillors, Ven Dara and Sou Dina, could be countersued for defamation.

“They do not have enough documents,” Chhien said. “We have never thought of political trends, [we] serve people.”

He added that all expenditures could be accounted for, like the fund he set up to support the elderly.

“I do not want to fight back but let experts and councillors do this because it affects their reputation,” he said, alluding to a lawsuit.

Until May of this year, Chhien, a former bodyguard to Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, had been the long-serving governor, a stint that began when rebel forces integrated with the government in 1996. He retired earlier this year at the mandated age of 63 and became the president of the council on which the CNRP members sit.

Chhien was supported by the other six CPP members on the council who said in a thumbprinted document provided to the Post yesterday that the corruption claims didn’t represent the views of the whole council, and besides, they aren’t true.

Speaking to the Post yesterday, CNRP councillor Ven Dara said that Chhien’s properties would have been hard to obtain without some form of corruption.

“He has a few houses,” Dara said. “Let the parliament summon him to clarify if he denies.”

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