General Sao Sokha, the commander of the National Military Police and chair of the National Committee for Prevention and Crackdown of Natural Resources Crime, told municipal and provincial governors to maintain the quality and quantity of materials and equipment seized from forest crimes so that they can be put for bidding.
The funds raised in this manner will be transferred to the national coffers.
The order issued on Wednesday said “relevant officials must disseminate this task to all relevant institutions and units, [after which] a report must be made by attaching photos [of the crime] and sending it to the national secretary working group.
“The municipal and provincial governors must implement this instruction in a highly effective manner from the date of the signature.”
National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said Sokha’s letter of instruction had already been sent to the relevant officials.
“We went down for actual inspection. Some materials and equipment that were seized, such as timber or vehicles were kept in the open. They could have decayed or been damaged by rain.
“If kept in the open, there could also be an accidental fire in the dry season. So we instructed all technical officials to keep them properly. Once we finish all the reports, we will put them for bidding but I don’t know when this will happen,” he said.
Mondulkiri provincial governor Svay Sam Eang confirmed receipt of Sokha’s letter on Thursday, adding that a joint committee is already being created in order to collect the materials and equipment from each location.
“I will assign technical officials to keep them properly and to keep the vehicles under shade to avoid damage. Timber will be kept where fires could be avoided and we’ll even deploy our armed forces to look after them,” said Sam Eang.
Kratie provincial governor Var Thorn had likewise received the instruction letter and had tasked his officials to inspect the seized materials and equipment, including some timber, vehicles and chainsaws.
“There weren’t a lot of seized materials. I don’t remember the amount. The timber trucks have been given to the forestry administration. With regard to timber, I told my officials to keep them in a safe place and not under [the] rain. We keep them well,” assured Thorn.
NGO Adhoc official Pen Bunna said he supported the protection of materials and equipment seized from forest crimes. He urged the authorities to announce the bidding publicly and allow civil societies to monitor it.
“For seized materials and equipment that cannot be sold or will not be bought such as chainsaws, trucks and other materials, the authorities must manage it well and transparently because I fear they could be used to serve forest crimes again if the management is lax.
“The amount of money collected from the sale of seized materials and equipment must also be announced publicly to prevent corruption,” he said.