A provincial and a district governor will not appear before two National Assembly committees probing possible corruption in land disputes, after Interior Minister Sar Kheng declared their summonsing a violation of protocol.
Earlier this month, the Assembly’s First and 10th committees sent formal letters to Kratie Governor Sar Chamrong and Bun Pheng, governor of Kandal’s Lvea Em district, respectively, asking that they appear to answer questions regarding corruption in local authorities’ handling of land disputes.
But neither body has the authority to do so, Sar Kheng said Tuesday in letters to each committee.
“As informed, municipal, provincial or district governors have no responsibility to appear before the National Assembly,” Kheng wrote, citing Article 121 of the constitution, which he said exempted provincial-level authorities from direct summonsing by parliament.
Kheng could not be reached yesterday.
Ongoing villager-business disputes in Kratie the committee hoped to examine include those in Chhlong and Snuol districts and Kratie town.
One of the firms, Casotim, operates in Pro Ma district, where government forces stormed a village in 2012, shooting a 14-year-old girl dead.
Eng Chhay Eang, chair of the First Committee yesterday said he agreed with Kheng’s legal interpretation, but that he would now ask the interior minister to appear in parliament to explain his reasoning.