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Senior official grilled over Mondulkiri land concession

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Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries secretary of state Chan Savuth. Photo supplied

Senior official grilled over Mondulkiri land concession

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries secretary of state Chan Savuth appeared for questioning on Thursday at the Mondulkiri provincial court over a 9,741ha economic land concession that had been granted to a private company.

Provincial court prosecutor Hieng Sopheak told The Post he had questioned Savuth but did not detain him as he was not involved in the case.

He pointed out that Savuth took office last year, and thus was unaware of the land concession that had been granted to Pacific Grand Joint-Stock Company Limited between 2011 and 2013.

“The court will summon other people. Now I’m preparing a letter to the ministry, asking it to send an official who knows about the concession to court for questioning,” he said.

Savuth could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Chan Heng, the ministry’s deputy cabinet director, said he was not fully aware of the case.

“I just know that he had already appeared in court for questioning and returned to work today, but I don’t have any other details,” he said.

Savuth was summoned weeks after Lor Raksmey, the ministry’s under-secretary of state, appeared for questioning on August 21 over the same land concession.

Eang Mengly, the provincial coordinator for right groups Adhoc, called on the court to take action against both government officials and companies involved in irregularities over economic land concessions.

“The laws should be enforced without discrimination or favour for high-ranking officials or powerful people. We hope the court will act independently when having enough evidence,” he said.

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