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Ministry official questioned over suspected illegal ELCs

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Lor Raksmey, an under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries, was questioned on Wednesday. SWIFT NEWS

Ministry official questioned over suspected illegal ELCs

A Mondulkiri provincial prosecutor questioned Lor Raksmey, an under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fisheries on Wednesday over his alleged involvement in illegally granting economic land concessions (ELCs) covering 9,741ha to a private company.

Provincial court spokesman Meas Bros told The Post on Wednesday that a prosecutor had spent four hours questioning Raksmey.

“We questioned him for nearly four hours, allowing him to go home afterwards. We are continuing to investigate to find others involved,” Bros said.

Provincial prosecutor Hieng Sopheak on August 5 summoned Raksmey for questioning on Wednesday for his alleged role in granting land to a private company, Pacific Grand Join Stock Company Ltd.

He allegedly granted them ELCs in the province of between 1,000ha and 2,741ha on several occasions, with the land granted totalling 9,741ha.

Raksmey and Ministry of Agriculture spokesman Srey Vuthy could not be reached for comment by The Post on Wednesday.

Provincial department of Agriculture director Song Kheang declined to comment.

Provincial Governor Svay Sam Eang said he was unaware of the summons.

Heng Sros, an environmental activist, said Raksmey may have been involved in illegally granting ELCs to the company.

“Maybe the court has found out that Lor Raksmey was involved with granting economic land concessions that resulted in the destruction of natural resources,” Sros said.

According to Swift News, Raksmey’s questioning comes as part of an ongoing campaign by the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown on Natural Resource Crimes to tackle forest crimes in the province.

Over 20 people and officials from government and private institutions have been summoned for questioning and jailed for committing forest offences in the province.

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