Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Graft suspect labels accuser illegal logger

Graft suspect labels accuser illegal logger

Graft suspect labels accuser illegal logger

THE head of a local conservation NGO says he has come under legal fire after lodging a complaint accusing officials in Kampong Speu province’s Oral district of involvement in illegal logging.

Chea Hean, director of the National Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation, a national watchdog, said yesterday that he was summoned on Tuesday to appear at Kampong Speu provincial court on September 15.

The summons, he said, came in response to a complaint from Chhun Chhea Heng, the head of the Oral Mountain Animal Refuge and one of those named in his corruption complaint, who has in turn accused him of illegal logging and extortion.

Late last month, Chea Hean accused 241 officials, including Chhun Chhea Heng and six other Oral district forestry officials, of turning a blind eye to illegal logging. Yesterday, he said he was prepared to appear before the court next week to defend his claims.

“I am not scared of the corrupt officials who are destroying national assets,” Chea Hean said.

“This is just the work of bad officials, and I will face the law. I’m not afraid because I haven’t committed these acts.”

Chea Hean said his complaint against Chhun Chhea Heng, filed at the Anticorruption Unit on August 30 and again at the Appeal Court Wednesday, followed a series of complaints to the provincial court in 2008 and 2009, none of which drew a response.

The most recent complaint, a copy of which has been obtained by the Post, calls on the Appeal Court to sentence Chhun Chhea Heng and six other officials to 22 years in prison and to fine them 200 million riels (US$47,619).

Ouk Savuth, prosecutor general at the Appeal Court, said on Wednesday that he had received Chea Hean’s complaint, and that officials were working to determine whether the allegations are true.

Chhun Chhea Heng could not be reached for comment yesterday, and Kampong Speu provincial court judge Iv Borin, who is in charge of the case, declined to comment.

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