Bun Chhay refutes KRP accusations

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Khmer National Unity Party (KNUP) president Nhek Bun Chhay has rejected accusations by Khmer Rise Party (KRP) president Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung that he had sold the land. FACEBOOK

Two prominent members of the Supreme Consultation Forum traded blame over the sale of 20ha in Nimith, Poipet and O’Beichoan communes in Banteay Meanchey province’s O’Chrov district.

Nhek Bun Chhay, who is also president of the Khmer National United Party, rejected accusations by Khmer Rise Party (KRP) president Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung that he had sold the land.

Bun Chhay and Vathana Sabung, also known as William Guang, are among other political party leaders who have joined the forum established by Prime Minister Hun Sen after the July 2018 national elections to give recommendations on various social issues.

“William Guang should see my evidence and think first before compiling a report and sending it to Samdech [Hun Sen]. [William Guang] should not have referred only to bogus documents produced by Ly Say Kheang and Taing Sokhy,” Bun Chhay said in a press conference on Wednesday.

His denial came days after Hing Thoraksy, the standby secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, signed a letter dated June 25 instructing Chea Sophara to act on a complaint lodged by Vathana Sabung on behalf of ASK & KH Group, a company owned by Say Kheang.

Sophara is the Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction and also chairs the National Authority for Land Dispute Resolution.

In the complaint, Vathana Sabung cited irregularities surrounding the sale of the land.

In his statement to counter the allegation, Bun Chhay claimed Say Kheang had made Taing Sokhy a new company representative to sell the land with the help of Vathana Sabung, with the three agreeing to share the proceeds.

The planned transaction, Bun Chhay said, reignited a land dispute that had already been resolved, thereby hindering the development of the land.

Bun Chhay, who also chairs a sub-national land dispute resolution committee, alleged that Sokhy had colluded with Say Kheang to dismiss a land sale agreement – which was brokered by Bun Chhay himself and dated August 6 last year – between traders and the company’s old representatives, Morn Marady and So Moeut.

Bun Chhay said Sokhy and Say Kheang refused to honour the agreement despite having received a deposit for the transaction.

“We have enough documents to prove it and hope we will get justice when the national land dispute resolution committee convenes in the near future,” he said.

“Ly Say Kheang sold the disputed land to me in an agreement dated August 6, last year. With good cooperation from the authorities and villagers, the 14-year-old land dispute was resolved as per an agreement dated December 15, last year,” he said.

But Vathana Sabung dismissed Bun Chhay’s claims.

“We did not resolve [the dispute]. We only had a role to go collect clues and evidence to be submitted to Prime Minister Hun Sen . . . We did not collude and cannot accept [this accusation]. I will file a criminal complaint if Nhek Bun Chhay refuses to apologise,” he said.

When contacted on Sunday, Sophara said he was in a meeting and could not comment on the matter.