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Thirty-eight more tycoons identified

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:

Defence Minister General Tea Banh on Friday said the ministry has identified 38 more tycoons within the ministry and the RCAF’s high-command headquarters.

Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered those in the service and the National Police to choose between their state positions or private titles. A CPP spokesman said the move was aimed at eradicating conflicts of interest.

Tycoon, or “okhna”, is a title given to those who have contributed at least $500,000 to the government. Many tycoons hold key positions in the armed forces and the police.

Last week, the ministry identified 61 tycoon titleholders at the RCAF high-command headquarters.

Gen Banh on Friday said the ministry has identified four more tycoon titleholders at the RCAF high-command headquarters, bringing the number up to 65. He added that 34 other titleholders have also been identified within the ministry.

In total, there are now 99 tycoons identified within RCAF and the ministry.

Gen Banh said that the majority of them have given up one of their conflicting positions, but he did not disclose the figures.

“I can’t tell how many of them gave up their military positions, but they are following procedure and submitting official statements,” Gen Banh said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay yesterday said military and police officials should not hold private titles.

“It has created a class system, which is incompatible with democracy where all have equal rights – and it should be abolished,” Mr Mong Hay said.

CPP spokesman Chhim Phal Virun yesterday said the move is a step forward for the government.

“It is a good step forward for government reforms that we are implementing,” Mr Phal Virun said. “Private and government positions in the armed forces are needed to be separated so officials can fulfil their duties.”

“We are doing this to prevent officials in the armed forces from gaining business advantages,” he said. “Yes, there are people who have used their ranks and titles to commit offences.”

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