Deputy governor in graft probe

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Battambang provincial deputy governor Sou Arafat. Facebook

Battambang provincial deputy governor Sou Arafat was questioned by the anti-corruption unit (ACU) in Phnom Penh on Wednesday about land corruption in Koas Krala district involving Oknha Sorng Thorn.

ACU head Om Yentieng told The Post on Thursday said the probe is ongoing and there are no details to comment on as yet.

“We have taken him for questioning but I need some time. After finishing with him I will issue a press release,” Yentieng said.

The questioning is related to the arrest of Thorn, who owns 5,000ha covering a fourth of Koas Krala district. He was taken in by ACU on Saturday.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also issued a sub-decree ending Mao Sochan’s tenure as Koas Krala district governor, although it is unclear if both issues are related.

Battambang provincial governor Ngoun Ratanak told The Post on Wednesday that Arafat’s detention is part of an ACU investigation into land corruption in Koas Krala district.

“We don’t know if this deputy governor is involved as a suspect or just a witness. It depends on the additional investigation about whether it is an administration issue or individual one. Let the ACU carry out its investigation,” he said.

NGO Adhoc’s officer in Battambang Yin Mengly said on Wednesday that Arafat used to head a provincial commission on land dispute resolution in Koas Krala district and was close to Thorn until there was a conflict between them about a year ago.

Mengly said Thorn gave some land to the deputy governor to keep as state land in return for a hard title for his remaining land.

He said both parties filed a complaint against each other and Arafat allegedly faked some land documents.

“The deputy governor is involved with the land issue in Koas Krala district. But the ACU has not put forward any detailed documents to the public. It is hot news and I think when the ACU finishes its investigation, it should issue a statement,” Mengly said.