Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Monday that unauthorised construction may be the result of corrupt officials accepting bribes from developers, and urged the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) to take immediate action in such cases.
Hun Sen was speaking as he attended an inspection of the under-construction Morodok Techo National Stadium on Monday, where he also met with sports officials, athletes and garment workers.
On Sunday, the ACU detained and questioned three officials from Pursat province after they were caught demanding $100,000 from a landowner in exchange for issuing a construction permit.
Fresh News reported on Sunday that the three men are high ranking officials from the provincial Cadastral Survey Department.
Speaking about the case, Hun Sen said it proved that much of the Kingdom’s unauthorised construction was the result of corrupt officials.
“It is a lesson learned in Pursat province. They asked for permission [to construct a building], but the officials demanded money from them. These cases create lawlessness.
“The accounts of the arrest of the three officials from Pursat province are true. When the officials were asked for permission to construct a factory, they demanded money.
“The ACU posed as members of the company. At first, they demanded $50,000, but then the cost doubled to $100,000. And then they demanded $50,000 as a deposit,” the prime minister said.
ACU chief Om Yentieng was unavailable for comment on the case on Monday.
Provincial police chief Saron Chanthy on Monday confirmed the men’s arrest: “The ACU is itself holding the three men. They have already been questioned and sent to Phnom Penh for further procedures.”
San Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the ACU should investigate areas undergoing a construction boom, like Preah Sihanouk province and Bavet and Poipet cities.
“We encourage people to file complaints with the ACU [about corruption]. Without complaints, the institution will find it difficult to execute its work.
“We want an investigation to be launched in rapidly developing areas because this is where the problems are occurring,” he said.