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

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,