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Governors told to look at public land seizures

Governors told to look at public land seizures

The Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers, Hing Thorasky, has issued a report ordering ministers and three provincial governors to check for irregularities among lower-level officers who have illegally seized public land.

These irregularities occurred in Battambang, Pailin and Kampong Chhnang provinces, and were discovered by delegations of the Nokor Democratic Party and the Beehive Social Democratic Party members of Supreme Council for Consultation and Recommendations in February and March.

According to the report, which Thorasky submitted to Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea Sophara and the governors of Battambang, Pailin and Kampong Chhnang provinces, the delegates discovered wrongdoing by officials on Monday.

The report said the delegates found out that local officials had seized 7ha of agricultural land from the residents of Dey Kraham village, located in Pailin province’s O’Tavao commune in Pailin district.

The officials then put the land under the ownership of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Thoraksy further said the same party delegation discovered that officials had threatened to confiscate the land of 126 families residing in Tuol Khpos and Kbal Teuk communes in Kampong Chhnang province’s Teuk Phos district.

Those who made the threats planned to sell the land to private companies, Thorasky said.

He continued that the case requires the provincial governor to review the situation and report to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Battambang provincial governor Nguon Ratanak said he would hold a meeting with relevant officials to review the case.

Ratanak could not explain because he wasn’t clear on which irregularities were being called out by the party’s chairman.

Beehive Social Democratic Party president Mam Sonando said the irregularities had been exposed by its members, and now the responsibility rests with government leaders to solve the issue and fulfil their duty to the people.

“The inability to solve the issue causes more pain for the people. It does not politically benefit the government and it also does not benefit the popularity of Samdech Techo [Hun Sen].

“I would like to thank Samdech Techo for his attention to my report and I hope the issue will be resolved in a way that satisfies the people and provides justice for them,” he said.

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