Authorities are investigating details of an alleged land swap between the Kampong Speu provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Touch Sarin Development Company.
On Thursday The Post obtained a document outlining the deal that was submitted to the Ministers of Economy and Finance; Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction; and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
It requested that ownership titles for 10ha be given to Touch Sarin Development Company in exchange for a new building in Chbar Mon town’s Chbar Mon commune in Kampong Speu province.
Srey Vuthy, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokesman, told The Post that he was not able to share the details of the arrangement because the ministry was still investigating the matter.
Kampong Speu provincial governor Vei Samnang said: “We do not know whether they intended to sell or swap the land because they failed to file paperwork through the provincial administration.
“If they had [done so] I would have known about the case, but only the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is aware of it.
“Forestry administration officials have great difficulty with land grabbers. Therefore, if there is a land swap or other agreement, the ministry should be consulted for [approval],” he said.
Samnang said details of the arrangement should be discussed internally between the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its provincial department that managed the land.
Kampong Speu Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries director Chheang Tola said he was unaware of the land swap until The Post contacted him.
He denied that a document outlining the deal existed.
“I don’t know of any land swap, I don’t know about the [details] of the land swap either. When an official becomes aware of a land swap then it [becomes] their concern.
“The onus for the land swap is on the provincial department director. There is no [agreement for] land to be swapped anywhere. It is impossible,” he said.
Natural Resource and Wildlife Preservation Organisation director Chea Hean said he was investigating the matter and would send his findings to the Anti-Corruption Unit in a letter.
“It would be disturbing if state land was swapped with a private company in this fashion. The case even shows that money has been exchanged for land belonging to the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. I suspect there are corrupt practices involved,” Hean said.