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National Police HQ relocation plan spurs corruption allegations

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National Police headquarters is located on the Norodom Boulevards. Heng Chivoan

National Police HQ relocation plan spurs corruption allegations

A request to relocate the National Police headquarters is seen by civil society as an excuse for corruption. But, a senior police official says the request was made as the current building is inadequate for its needs while space is confined.

In a letter dated December 29, and leaked to The Post on Monday, National Police Chief Neth Savoeun requested Minister of Interior Sar Kheng to relocate the National Police headquarters to a new site in Dangkor commune, Dangkor district, Phnom Penh.

Savoeun said the current building did not have enough space for daily work, standby, training, armoury, parking, warehousing and other departments.

Entrance to the headquarters is also very congested each time the intervention forces launched an operation.

“To facilitate the work and improve the location in accordance with [our] standards, the National Police headquarters would like to ask for permission for Long Ma Investment and Real Estate Co Ltd to relocate, and ask for the land title before development [of a 70,000 sqm plot] of land [owned by] the company,” Savoeun said in the letter.

He wrote that the company will build a new 10-floor National Police headquarters (32m x 60m) and two buildings for police personnel to live in.

Those buildings will be constructed in accordance with quality standards and will have modern equipment, lifts and air-conditioners. The company will fill the land and build fences and guard posts.

National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said the request for the relocation of National Police headquarters was nothing out of the ordinary.

“The signing by the National Police chief is important. It is the decision of the ministry and government whether [to issue a] permit or not because the National Police headquarters is a little small.”

However, Cambodia-based Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said the relocation of the state building is a swap to sell an expensive property and purchase a cheaper one.

He claimed the relocation would not improve the work of the National Police because the new location is far from the city centre.

“The [old] place is a target for real estate development. ‘Relocation’ is just a technical word and the real issue is that decision-makers will reap the benefits."

“This is just a sale of an expensive location and the purchase the cheaper one,” claimed San Chey.

He claimed that withholding the price of the swap could be a sign of corruption.

A real estate agent, who wished to remain anonymous, said the price of private land with a land title in the area is $4,000 per square metre or less if state land.

“It is expensive because it is on the main street and in a commercial area,” he said.

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