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Commune chief to appear in court over land dispute

Commune chief to appear in court over land dispute

A deputy commune chief and a land trader were summoned by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday to explain a 17ha dispute in Por Sen Chey district.

Trapeang Krasang first deputy commune chief Sim Phoun and alleged land trader Chuy Tola were sought by the prosecutor after a complaint was filed in July by commune resident Ly Sokyou.

Sokyou has alleged four offences – offences against public officials, incitement to commit acts against public officials, using violence against property occupants and intentionally damaging property.

His lawyer Pheng Sideth told The Post on Tuesday that his client had a proper land ownership certificate (hard title) issued by the Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction in Phnom Penh in 2000.

The other party, Sideth said, held duplicate documents like a certificate of land ownership issued in 2014 by Trapeang Krasang commune. Phoun, was the signatory on the land document.

Sideth said his client complained to local authorities and the Por Sen Chey district authority, but there was no solution because a land broker, Tola, had money and power to process the document. Tola, who Sideth said is backed by powerful people, handed over the signed land document to Phoun.

“I will wait to see what the court does,” he said.

Phoun could not be reached for comment on Tuesday but appeared in court on Monday. Tola has not appeared in court.

Trapeang Krasang commune chief Huot Ratha said on Monday he did not know anything about the disputed land and did not know when Phoun signed the land document.

“I do not know about the land dispute, I do not know when Sim Phoun signed the land documents. I do not know anything,” Ratha said.

Deputy prosecutor Song Chavoan said on Tuesday she could not confirm the court’s questioning procedure and had not arrested Phoun.

“I couldn’t tell you the procedure for questioning, please ask the court spokesperson, he may provide some answers.

“We haven’t arrested the suspect. We have already questioned him and let him return home,” she said.

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