At least 100 cubic metres of luxury timber allegedly belonging to powerful tycoon Na Marady was intercepted in Stung Treng province’s Sesan district yesterday, officials said.
Provincial Governor Chea Pich said his office was contacted by a group claiming to be journalists who said they had discovered the illegal goods. However, forestry officials said the timber belonged to Marady and was legally sourced.
Following another similar report, Pich said he dispatched a local state prosecutor to the site and discovered several vehicles and the timber, but no drivers.
“No one took responsibility. So we decided to impound the vehicles,” he said. “We do not yet know if the timber was sourced illegally or not.”
The thnong and sokrom lumber was transported through the Phou Mady Investment Group’s 10,000-hectare concession in the district, according to local rights group Adhoc.
Hou Samol, Adhoc’s provincial coordinator, said the rubber plantation had been used to export luxury wood for almost a year.
“But we do not know yet if the timber was from inside or outside the company’s land,” he said.
Chheang Tola, the provincial Forestry Administration (FA) director, and Chheng Kimsun, its national director, could not be reached.
Voeun Sambath, Kbal Romeas commune chief, said that the timber transport roads were near the local FA office and that the unit “might know a lot about this”.
Phou Mady spokesman Nort Naron could not be reached.