OFFICIALS have moved to quash rumours that Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktema has been removed from his post, saying the news is a hoax deliberately designed to stir up confusion.
The rumours emerged shortly after the end of the annual Water Festival, when an unidentified source close to Prime Minister Hun Sen claimed Kep Chuktema's deputy Pa Socheatvong was in line to take the seat.
But government spokesman and Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith dismissed the rumours, confirming that the government did not have any intention of removing Kep Chuktema, who has served as governor of Phnom Penh since February 2003.
"There has been no removal," he said Sunday. "He [Kep Chuktema] will remain a governor and the rumours will not affect him."
Deputy Governor Pa Socheatvong said that the recent information could cause confusion and damage the relationship between the senior municipal officials.
"This is just rumour, it is not true," he told the Post. "The rumour is not good for me and not good for the governor."
Pa Socheatvong said that if the government wanted to remove someone they would reveal it publicly, adding that the rumours must have been started by someone with a political agenda.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap said that the information about the removal of Kep Chuktema made little sense because the party was preparing for commune council elections scheduled for May next year.
"It remains a rumour," he said. "I did not receive any information about his removal."
Kep Chuktema could not be reached for comment Sunday.