Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Forestry official fires back over graft claim




Forestry official fires back over graft claim

Chanthet Thanarak, chief of the Phnom Penh Forestry Administration, attends a meeting at his office in October. Photo supplied
Chanthet Thanarak, chief of the Phnom Penh Forestry Administration, attends a meeting at his office in October. Photo supplied

Forestry official fires back over graft claim

An allegation of dubious promotion practices within the Forestry Administration has surfaced during the course of an Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) investigation into Phnom Penh Forestry Administration chief Chanthet Thanarak.

Thanarak stands accused of keeping department-wide salary bonuses for himself, demanding fees from timber traders 25 times higher than the required rate, protecting illegal timber traders and handing himself absolute power within the capital’s Forestry Administration office.

In a clarification letter to the ACU dated August 31 and released last week, Chanthet denied all four charges, lashing out at three of his subordinates who he says are unqualified for their positions, which they allegedly leapfrogged to from the bottom of the provincial Forestry Administration.

Two of the three – Seng Ly, from Koh Kong, and Un Vannarith, from Kandal – could not be reached yesterday. The third – Kam Seyha of Svay Rieng, who Chanthet says was promoted twice in 30 days – said he was unaware of the accusation before hanging up.

Om Makthakry – provincial chief of the Koh Kong Forestry Administration, from which Seng Ly was promoted – suggested yesterday that the promotion was at the behest of Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon.

“How can I know? Only the minister knows,” Makthakry said, before hanging up Agriculture Ministry spokesman Lor Raksmey could not be reached for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • UN bodies call for drug centre closure

    Thirteen UN entities on Monday issued a joint statement calling on countries in Asia and the Pacific to close all compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases and some forms of human rights violations. The group includes

  • Man on run after family murder

    A mother and daughter were found dead amid a pile of burnt rubble after a house in Thma Koul district’s Bonsai Treng commune in Battambang burned down at 1:40am on Sunday. District police chief Phong Sopheap told The Post on Monday that Kim Thoeun, 52,

  • Racism a ‘chronic disease’ in the US

    China said on Monday that the ongoing civil unrest in the US highlighted its severe problems of racism and police violence, and exposed Washington’s double standards in supporting Hong Kong’s protesters. “Black people’s lives are also lives. Their human rights must also

  • VN PM targets prosperous status for key southern economic region by 2035

    Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Saturday asked the southern key economic region to strive to become a powerful and prosperous region by 2035, 10 years ahead of the deadline for the same goal for the whole nation. He made the remarks while chairing a meeting

  • Thai MPs push $60B Covid-19 aid package through Parliament

    A covid-19 financial aid package sailed through Thailand’s House of Representatives on Sunday but opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) attacked the 1.9 trillion baht ($60 billion) aid as mostly benefiting big businesses. After five days of debate, the lower house voted in favour of the package

  • Indonesia backtracks on decision to relax wood export terms

    Indonesia has backtracked on a decision to relax export requirements for timber products months after issuing a deregulation policy that environmental groups criticised for threatening to put sustainable timber trade at risk. On May 11, the Ministry of Trade issued a regulation annulling its previous regulation