Vun Thoeun, the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary station chief has been transferred to the ministry to await administrative disciplinary action.
The disciplinary action was stated in a press release issued by Minister of Environment Say Sam Al as obtained by The Post.
The ministry’s secretary of state and spokesman Neth Pheaktra said Thoeun had already been educated and instructed by the senior leadership several times, but he failed to learn from his mistakes. The ministry does not support and protect any official who commits wrongdoings.
“So, as an administrative measure, we had transferred him to serve in the ministry. In case he still has disciplinary issues, we will take legal action against him,” Pheaktra said.
However, neither Sam Al nor Pheaktra has given details of what mistakes Thoeun had allegedly committed although he has been officially removed from his post.
Preah Vihear provincial Department of Environment director Ear Sokha said on October 30 that the transfer was the decision and administrative task of the ministry.
“I am not aware of Thoeun’s mistakes because the matter was handled by an inspection group sent by the ministry,” he stressed.
Sokha said the inspection group had investigated the case for months.
On the appointment of a new station chief, he said he does not have any updates on the matter as appointing a replacement falls under the jurisdiction of the senior leadership.
“A replacement is to undergo assessment and a test for skilled capacities, knowledge and work experience. This appointment cannot be made arbitrarily,” said Sokha.
When contacted on October 30, Thoeun said he had received a transfer letter signed by Sam Al but declined to comment on the matter.
Kulen Choeung commune police chief Chheng Sovan said that he is not aware of Thoeun’s mistakes. But in the past, he had heard of residents claiming Thoeun had always disobeyed his senior officer’s orders and was involved in some scandals.
Forest activist Heng Sros said that he didn’t know what wrong Thoeun had committed, but if the ministry found the official guilty, it should have sacked him and taken firm legal action.
“If the official had broken the law, the ministry should have fired him and filed a complaint against him with the relevant law enforcement bodies.
“This will serve as a stern warning to other unscrupulous officials. If the ministry is still lenient with them, citizens would lose faith in the fight against corruption,” he said.