A DISTRICT governor in Preah Vihear province who is being investigated on rape allegations has been removed from his post, though officials on Monday said they could not disclose the reason for the move.
Last month, a 20-year-old schoolteacher accused Ung Vuthy, the governor of Sangkum Thmey district, of attempting to rape her in February when he stayed overnight at her family’s home while investigating a suspected illegal logging ring.
Prak Saran, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said the removal of Ung Vuthy had been announced Saturday. “I attended the ceremony on Saturday, and they read out that they were officially putting Choam Ksan district governor Ros Heng to replace Ung Vuthy, who has been removed to work as a normal civil servant at the provincial hall,” he said.
Khov Khun Hor, the provincial chief of cabinet, confirmed that the move had taken place, and added that it had been ordered by provincial governor Um Mara.
“I cannot comment on the story behind his removal,” Khov Khun Hor said.
Ung Vuthy said Monday that the move had made him distraught. “I am desperately unhappy with this removal, and I am not involved with the rape allegations. They want to destroy me,” he said.
Keo Sim, a prosecutor at Preah Vihear provincial court, referred to the move as “an internal affair of the administration”. He said the investigation of the rape complaint is ongoing.
“I questioned Ung Vuthy over the rape allegations [Sunday], and he told me that he just lied down with the schoolteacher for kissing and embracing her. They have not yet conducted a sexual relationship,” he said.
Ung Vuthy has previously told police that he never intended to rape the victim, and that he had only wanted to hug and kiss her in front of her parents to demonstrate his love for her and prove to them that he planned to marry her one day.
“I will forward this case next week to an investigating judge for more investigation before considering laying a charge against him,” Keo Sim said.