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R'kiri rubber workers file fresh complaint

R'kiri rubber workers file fresh complaint

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

A rubber tree plantation in Ratanakkiri province. 

THE Samaki Group, a rubber collective in Ratanakkiri province, has filed a complaint against provincial prosecutor Mey Sakhan for dereliction of duty in his representation of the company in a fraud case first lodged nearly a year ago.

The 84 groups comprising the Samaki Group accused the Tai Seng Import Export Co of trying to break up the collective and take control of the plantation by fraudulently acquiring a licence from the Ministry of Agriculture using thumbprints taken from eight of the plantation's staffers.

"We do not agree with the way Mey Sakhan has delayed the investigation and prosecution of our case," the complaint, filed Monday, stated. Mey Sakhan declined to comment on the complaint, but said he continues to pursue his investigation of Tai Seng.

Monday's complaint cited a Ratanakkiri police report issued in January this year, indicating Tai Seng had submitted false documents to provincial authorities regarding an alleged claim to the Samaki Group plantation.

"Twelve [Samaki] representatives have already provided testimony to prosecutors under subpoena. Almost a year has passed and the prosecutor has made no accusations or charges against Tai Seng," the complaint stated.

The prosecutor's delay in pursuing the case allowed Tai Seng to use the fraudulently obtained licence from the Ministry of Agriculture, issued in October 2007 on the basis of illegally obtained thumbprints, to support its alleged claim to the plantation, the complaint said.

"Tai Seng's activities have affected our business, created a loss of public discipline in the province and created misunderstandings between provincial and ministry officials," said the complaint.

The complaint included a report by Ratanakkiri provincial parliamentarian Bou Thang from December 2007 attesting that Tay Seng's letter from the Ministry was a counterfeit document.

Tay Seng representative Om Nan denied that the company was making  a fraudulent claim to the land." Our company has no right to seize their lands, and we did not create a counterfeit letter from the Ministry. It is an official letter," he said.

Bun Tha, head of the Krom Samaki collective, said he will continue protesting to the ministries of justice and agriculture and was prepared to take the matter directly to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

He added, however, that Mey Sakhan responded to the complaint by accusing members of the collective of robbery and murder.

"I wonder why six members of my group have now been accused of stealing and killing. They are innocent of these charges," Bun Tha said.

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