Mondulkiri Funcinpec office sold for $600K amid controversy

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A Funcinpec party headquarters in Sen Monorom town, Mondulkiri province, has been sold for $600,000. Photo supplied

A Funcinpec party headquarters in Sen Monorom town, Mondulkiri province, has been sold for $600,000 to a gold mine owner in Keo Seima district.

The seller has received a deposit of $300,000 while the buyer awaits the complete set of official documents before paying the balance. But the sale and purchase remains controversial.

Sao Sarim, the former Funcinpec party member in Mondulkiri province is the occupier of the land.

He told The Post on Wednesday that the land on which the Funcinpec party headquarters stood measured 40m by 71m. Chhan Ry, the seller’s representative sold this land for $600,000 to Un Chheang Lim, the gold mine owner in Keo Seima district.

“The seller and the buyer are now stuck as I have filed a complaint to the governor, requesting him not to allow any document for the sale and purchase of this headquarters to be issued. I will absolutely oppose and advocate against this sale,” Sarim said.

He said the land on which the headquarters stood belonged to him and that he had exchanged for it with a villager in 1995. Later on, he allowed the Funcinpec party to borrow the land as a temporary headquarters.

The loan of the land, Sarim said, was made on condition that when the headquarters is no longer in use, the land must be returned to him. But on the contrary, the next generation of the party conspired with each other and sold his land to a third party.

A Funcinpec party official who asked not to be named told The Post that Heng Haklim, assistant to Princess Marie, prepared and processed documents for the sales of the headquarters in Mondulkiri, Kampong Chhnang and Preah Sihanouk province.

However, The Post could not contact Haklim for comments over the allegations as his phone was switched off.

The same official said Haklim has Prince Norodom Chakravuth, the acting president of Funcinpec party, and Princess Marie as his supporters. Haklim is alleged to have searched and asked for land titles (hard titles) of each headquarters so that the land could be sold to other people.

Funcinpec party spokesman Nop Sothearith could not be reached for comment.

Its deputy president Chhoeng Chamroeun declined to comment on the matter. “I don’t know this case. Every day, the only thing I think about is the health of Prince Norodom Ranariddh and pray for his speedy recovery,” Chamroeun said.

The Post could not contact Un Chheang Lim yesterday for comment on his purchase of the land, while Chhan Ry could not be reached.

Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said if there are really sales and purchases of headquarters, it means that Funcinpec party no longer has legacies to depend on as before.

He said the party had been selling King Father’s legacies since 1993 to distribute money to each other.

“If they are really selling their headquarters like this, Funcinpec party should be dissolved and the royal family members should leave politics or stay outside politics and focus on humanitarian work in society.

“It is better than being involved in politics because if they take part in politics like this, there will be some criticism which will tarnish the honour of the King,” Phea said.

Sarim’s August 14 letter to Sam Eang said: “On July 12, 2019. I filed an objection not allowing Chhan Ry to receive a certificate of the hard title registration because of the land dispute.

“On August 13, 2019, I went to check the list at the Monorom commune administrative office and saw that Un Chheang Lim with his wife Kuy Thida presented themselves as the owners of the disputed land measuring 40m by 70m without having enough documents. For that land I have filed a complaint with Chhan Ry since 2016 and I have not received a solution yet.”

A Funcinpec party source said it planned to sell its headquarters in Preah Sinhaouk province for $900,000, the one in Mondulkiri province for $600,000, and another in Kampong Chhnang province for an undisclosed sum. But the plan remained controversial.