Land director removed after probe

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The director of the Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning, Construction and Cadastre, Prak Poly. Supplied

The director of the Banteay Meanchey provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning, Construction and Cadastre, Prak Poly, will be removed from his position on Tuesday as a result of a probe into alleged corruption which has been concluded.

A letter signed by Seng Lot, the director-general of the General Department of Administration at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on Friday said that Chhan Saphan, standby secretary of state, will take charge of Poly’s transfer.

“The ministry has assigned Chhan Saphan to preside over the transfer, accompanied by Seng Lot, Seng Sovanroatana, the deputy director-general of the General Department of Administration and Kosal Sopinak, the director of the Personnel Department,” the letter read.

The transfer comes after Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara created a working group to investigate Poly on July 30.

Sophara and Lot could not be reached by The Post on Monday for comment.

However, Sophara, who is also deputy prime minister, earlier told the media that Ang Narith, the deputy director of the Design Study Department at the Ministry of Land Management, will replace Poly on Tuesday.

“The transfer is part of the normal process to improve public services in accordance with government policy and to ensure construction safety and quality urban planning for citizens,” Sophara said.

The working group to investigate Poly was made up of nine officials.

Sar Sovann, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, was appointed chair, with Pen Chansok Khemara, the general inspector at the ministry’s General Inspectorate, deputy chair.

The group was to “inspect work related to land registration and construction, personnel management and the provision of public services. It was also to monitor the implementation of land registration. It will file a report with the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction,” Sophara’s letter of July 30 said.

Som Chankea, the provincial coordinator at rights group Adhoc, said the transfer of Poly likely came as a result of the Ministry of Land Management investigation. It may have found irregularities regarding the issuing of land registration documents that led to repeated protests, he said.

“We have seen that Poly issued titles despite the land concerned being involved in a dispute. This led to further protests. He issued documents to those with money and power, while the villagers who occupied the land did not receive any,” Chankea said.

Accusations of corruption, nepotism and the irregular issuing of land titles had been levelled against Poly.

In one case, the government ordered that five families in Banteay Meanchey province be given plots of land. When this failed to happen, Sophara launched the investigation.

Local media reported Poly as saying that he had not ignored the government sub-decree. He said the land had not been demarcated because the families had chosen an area different from that mentioned in the sub-decree.