Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Families claim rep kept land after trial



Families claim rep kept land after trial

People from Sen Sok district's Phnom Penh Thmey commune protest at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.
People from Sen Sok district's Phnom Penh Thmey commune protest at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Hong Menea

Families claim rep kept land after trial

A former representative of more than 160 families stripped of their land has been taken to court on “breach of trust” and “false declaration” charges by the very people she once advocated for, some of whom now claim she kept the land titles for herself.

In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Chea Sarom and the villagers she represented, knocking back the ownership claims of businesswoman Keo Neam on land in Phnom Penh Thmey commune in the capital’s Sen Sok district.

But in that decision’s wake, Sarom has refused to return the land to the families, according to three new representatives for the Rong Chak village community, who alleged Sarom faked a list of 163 names and thumbprints.

At municipal court yesterday, Sarom denied she faked the names and said she had never even met some of the witnesses who testified against her.

“They never gave me the right to represent them,” she said.

She also denied allegations that she sold the community land to other people while awaiting the court ruling. That was contradicted by witness Sea Eng, who told the court she paid $6,000 to purchase two plots of land from Sarom in 2008, which she never received. Sarom claimed not to know Eng.

Koy Vuthy, a witness representing the commune authority, said both parties had two very different lists of the 163 families.

“Both have their own lists. Some names are the same, some are different. After they split, they just added names on each side. They said in court that they did not know each other, but in reality everyone knows everyone,” he said.

The hearings will continue at a later date.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and