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ACU nabs Pursat land management chief

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Liem Bunroeun
Liem Bunroeun, Cheang Vuthy and Te Buntheng have been accused of corruption. CEN

Anti-Corruption Unit officials on Saturday arrested the Pursat provincial land management department director over an allegation that he sought bribes from a construction firm owner to approve a project.

The unit also arrested two of his subordinates suspected of helping him.

A Pursat provincial police officer yesterday identified the suspects as Liem Bunroeun, Cheang Vuthy, deputy provincial land management department director, and Te Buntheng, a department official.

The officer said the arrests were made by Om Yentieng, chairman of Anti-Corruption Unit, and his officials.

Major General Sarun Chanthy, Pursat provincial police chief, yesterday said that Mr Bunroeun and his subordinates were arrested in Pursat city’s Phteah Prey commune over corruption related to land development.

Mr Yentieng declined to comment by phone yesterday, but sent a message to his Telegram chat group noting that Mr Bunroeun was arrested over accusations that he demanded money from a construction firm owner to approve a project.

He said that the director first asked for $40,000. Mr Yentieng said Mr Bunroeun then created problems in approving the project and demanded $100,000 to provide a construction license, 50 percent of which should be paid up front.

He said that on July 6, the owner paid $5,000 to the provincial land management department director in his office.

Mr Yentieng said that the next day, the ACU set a trap and the owner paid the remaining $45,000 to Mr Bunroeun at Mohaleap Restaurant in the commune, after which he was arrested along with one of his subordinates.

The other land department official was arrested in his office later that day.

Mao Thonin, Pursat provincial governor, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

San Chey, executive director of Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said construction projects in the Kingdom are rising, but the application process for licenses is complicated.

“I think that with this crackdown, the government is showing that it is serious in ending corruption by officials in charge of approving construction projects,” he said.

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