The Mondulkiri Provincial Court has summoned Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries secretary of state Chan Savuth to appear on September 12 for questioning over his alleged granting of economic land concessions (ELCs).
Thirteen others who were summoned for their alleged involvement in forest crimes did not appear for questioning.
Savuth is the second official at the ministry to be summoned for questioning on the granting of ELCs.
Lor Raksmey, also an under-secretary of state, was questioned on August 21 over his alleged involvement in illegally granting ELCs to Pacific Grand Joint-Stock Company Limited, covering nearly 10,000ha.
A warrant from provincial court prosecutor Hieng Sopheak, which The Post received on Sunday, invited Savuth to appear for questioning at the court at 9am on September 12.
Based on the warrant, Savuth will be questioned over granting a total of 9,741ha over several occasions to the company, located in the province.
Savuth and Mondulkiri provincial court spokesman Meas Bros could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
Mondulkiri provincial court prosecutor Hieng Sopheak said technical officials are still working on the case and the result has not yet been released.
“They are working on the case, so just know this and do not ask them more about it,” he said.
After Sopheak had questioned Raksmey on August 21, he was allowed to return home.
The result of the questioning has not yet been revealed.
On forestry crimes, 13 suspects, including oknhas, Chinese, Cambodian and Vietnamese nationals, were ordered to appear on August 30 and 31 for questioning at the same court.
They are alleged to have illegally collected and transported agricultural and forest products without legal letters of permission.
Mondulkiri provincial Military Police commander Hem Bonarel said he was unaware if the 13 were questioned at the Mondulkiri provincial Military Police Command and referred questions to the court.
“Since this case is based on a summons by the court, it might know better.
“Generally, if summoned by a court, the 13 suspects will have to be questioned by the court itself and not any other body,” he said.
A senior land and natural resources officer for rights group Adhoc said the Mondulkiri provincial court should issue a warrant of arrest for those who failed to appear and those who asked the court to delay the date of their questioning for crimes.
“I believe that the court will find justice because I saw two senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries summoned for questioning too, and I am looking forward to seeing the result.
“Therefore, I have a lot of hope that the court will also investigate and arrest any accomplices,” he said.
The Mondulkiri provincial court has thus far summoned over 20 people to appear in court including Vietnamese, Chinese, and forestry administrative officials.
Among those were Oknha Srun Mengleang, Tob Vida and Vun Bunthai, while Oknha Seung Sam Ol and Oknha Kong Kroeng were charged and detained.