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Land Minister addresses corruption

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Land Management Minister Chea Sophara instructs cadastal officials on Thursday to avoid corruption when demarcating people’s land . Pha Lina

Land Minister addresses corruption

Land Management Minister Chea Sophara on Thursday instructed cadastral officials throughout the country to ensure accurate measurements and avoid corruption when demarcating people’s land.

The instruction came after the ministry obtained sophisticated equipment using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology.

During a workshop on the new technology at the ministry on Thursday, Sophara said cadastral officials are obliged to measure land for people in a transparent manner without favour.

He said officials need to start demarcating land in each district using the new technology and then insert the data into the government’s database system.

“We have used new technology to update our works. With the new equipment, we need to be transparent. Some officials, for example, measure a10ha plot but they want 0.5ha for personal gain, so they insert just the other half into the database system. That’s not good."

“I know all of you are aware of that. If I don’t bring this up, you may continue to use this technology in a wrong way for personal gain when measuring land for the people,” he said.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director Sorn Chey said corruption involved in land measurement is deep-rooted.

He said the ministry should also solve long-running land disputes and take action against powerful individuals and tycoons who violate state-owned property, such as beaches, lakes, and other protected areas.

“Some officials try to get money from people when they measure their land. It has become the norm. What [the minister] said is good but he should also solve land disputes involving powerful individuals and government officials,” he said.

Preah Sihanouk provincial land management department director Cheng Srong could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

The land demarcation project will start from next year until 2020, or 2021 at the latest.

The ministry expects to register more than seven million land plots. So far it has reached 68 per cent of the target.