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Officials examine timber company for irregularities

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National Military Police commander Sao Sokha (centre) after a crackdown on illegal timber in Mondulkiri province. GRK

Officials examine timber company for irregularities

After winning the rights to transfer large shipments of timber from Mondulkiri province to the rest of Cambodia, Try Pheap Import Export Co Ltd is being examined by 10 officials to ensure there are no irregularities in its operation, Mondulkiri provincial forestry administration director Um Van Sopheak said.

The company had won timber auctions from the ministries of Environment, and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in September last year.

He said the company sent seven trucks from Mondulkiri province to depots in Phnom Penh, Kampot, Prey Veng, Preah Vihear and Tbong Khmum last week, and only three or four more trucks remained.

“We have examined the actual activities of transportation, but there have not been any irregularities or overloaded timber. They respect the law, so we give them permission letters to transport it.

“We act on our duty and advice from upper-level authorities. We don’t do anything arbitrarily because someone accused us of not working well and committing irregularities, so I want to make it clear,” he said.

On Sunday, Song Kheang, the provincial director of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said they began the examination on March 17. He said he was unaware of the details of the matter.

Try Pheap representative Pol Pisal could not be reached for comment.

At least seven separate permission letters – all dated March 18 and issued by the Sen Monorom forestry administration – were seen by The Post on Sunday. The letters stated it permitted Try Pheap representative Pol Pisal to transport over 122 cubic meters of first-grade timber.

Adhoc senior land and natural resources officer Pen Bunna said the timber auction should have been held more widely with an independent team as arbitrator and monitor.

He said the examination of timber transportation should be more diligently carried out because the company may take this opportunity to transport timber not procured from the auction.

“We want to have an independent monitor from an NGO for this process to ensure transparency and justice,” he said.

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