Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - RCAF officials forced to pick oknha title or their position

RCAF officials forced to pick oknha title or their position

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of National Defence Tea Banh has said that the title of oknha was granted to officials in the RCAF following them making a monetary donation to the state. Heng Chivoan

RCAF officials forced to pick oknha title or their position

More than two-thirds of senior officials at the General Command Headquarters of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) have decided to relinquish their oknha titles to maintain their roles in the armed forces, an RCAF official said.

Of 61 senior officials, 45 relinquished their title of oknha, while 16 decided to retain it at the expense of their jobs in the military.

The need to choose between the two came from an order issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen at a meeting of the Cambodian People’s Party central committee last month.

On August 23, Hun Sen confirmed the order on Facebook: “[The government] will not allow armed forces officials, such as soldiers, police and Military Police, to have the title oknha any more. In the past, some of them took the two titles to commit illegal acts.”

RCAF General Command spokesman Thong Solimo told The Post on Sunday that after the announcement, 61 unnamed officials who held the oknha title along with a position in the General Command of the RCAF – including the navy, army, air force and Military Police – were forced to choose between their titles.

He said the figures did not include officials at the Ministry of National Defence, and that the figures would be sent to Minister of National Defence Tea Banh for the final verdict on their titles.

Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, told The Post on Sunday that the oknha title was granted to officials in the RCAF following them making a monetary donation to the state.

He said there was no specific figure available for the number of officials currently serving in the RCAF who had obtained the oknha title. But according to previously released figures, between 1994 and 2014 Cambodia granted the title of oknha to 704 individuals.

To receive the title, the law states that an individual must donate more than $500,000 to the state, with King Norodom Sihamoni then granting them the title.

San Chey, the Executive Director of Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the measure was intended to prevent damage to the government’s image when RCAF officials with the title abuse their power or commit offences.

However, he said it would take more than stripping them of their title to end illegal practices.

Only monitoring and proper law enforcement can lead to powerful officials not abusing their positions. The important thing is that the authorities or courts must not be afraid of holding those in such position [oknha] accountable,” he said.

Video:

MOST VIEWED

  • Website advises travellers to stay clear of Angkor Wat

    An Australian website has advised travellers to avoid Angkor Wat during their trip to Southeast Asia because the ancient temple is showing signs of rapid erosion and faced water management issues. In a recent article entitled Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

    Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday. In 2018, the Phnom

  • Kingdom drafting new law to strengthen immigration

    The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said it had formed a working group to draft amendments to the Law on Immigration. Its secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post that the amendments will strengthen the management of immigrants in line with the current situation.

  • Shipments of mango to South Korea poised to begin this week

    Exports of Cambodian mangoes to South Korea will begin this week after Korean authorities gave the nod. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Department of Plant Protection, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements director Ker Monthivuth told The Post on Sunday that after several inspections of

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that