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PM orders probes after report of land grabs by authorities

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Prime Minister Hun Sen. Facebook page

PM orders probes after report of land grabs by authorities

Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered investigations after receiving a report from the Khmer Rise Party (KRP) that two provincial authorities illegally granted private companies state land for development when it was intended for villagers.

The KRP report claimed the Kandal provincial administration destroyed residents’ crops when grabbing the land. It also said state land was illegally given to a private company by the Kampong Chhnang provincial authority.

The report was submitted to the prime minister at a Supreme Consultation Council meeting late last month.

Two letters signed by Council of Ministers secretary of state Hing Thoraksy early this month said that investigations were being carried out on Hun Sen’s orders dated August 26.

One letter ordered the Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, Chea Sophara, and the Minister of Water Resources and Meteorology, Lim Kean Hor, to look into misconduct regarding the implementation of sub-decree Nº183 issued last year.

The other called on Minister of Interior Sar Kheng to investigate irregularities in the application of the Law on Expropriation and sub-decree Nº93 dated this year concerning land in Lvea Em district’s Koh Reah commune in Kandal province.

The KRP claimed the irregularities had seriously affected the effectiveness of state affairs.

Ministry of Interior spokesman Kieu Sopheak said the ministry was yet to receive the letter and he was unaware of the matter.

Neither Ministry of Land Management spokesman Seng Lot nor Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology spokesman Chan Yutha could be reached for comment on Monday.

KRP president Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung told The Post on Sunday that he had discovered misconduct by the Kampong Chhnang provincial administration after a field visit. He claimed that the authority had colluded with a private company to sell state land.

“The government issued sub-decree Nº183 granting 17.5ha in social land concessions to 525 families in Area 2, Village 6, Khsam commune. In the request, a portion of land was allocated for the building of a market, a school, a park and a pagoda.

“But instead the administration gave the land to the LKL company for development and processed a state land title,” Vathana Sabung said.

In the Kandal province case, the government issued a sub-decree last year ordering the provincial authority to resolve a land dispute according to the Law on Expropriation. However, it instead granted the land to a private company for development, he said.

The authorities bulldozed the crops of some 100 families without compensating them.

“The sub-decree dictated that the Kandal provincial administration must offer reasonable compensation . . . but it did not do so. The authority showed the residents sub-decree No 93 and offered them a low price.

“The administration did not negotiate and bulldozed residents’ plantations, completely [disregarding] the application of the law,” Vathana Sabung stressed.

Kampong Chhnang provincial governor Chhour Chandoeun told The Post on Monday that he had submitted a letter to the ministry regarding the issue.

Kandal provincial governor Mao Phearun denied allegations the administration had improperly applied the law.

Phearun told The Post that he had already resolved the dispute with the villagers involved.

The government had approved the annulment of a directive ordering the Ministry of Interior to investigate the case, he said.

“The Khmer Rise Party submitted a report to Prime Minister Hun Sen, so he knows about it.

“There was nothing irregular. The process was implemented according to the law, and the residents have already received the money from the development project – 100 per cent,” Phearun said.

Vathana Sabung said he was continuing to monitor the cases to ensure those affected were compensated properly.

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