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Three commune chiefs reprimanded for landgrabs

Tith Kongnov / Khmer Times Share:

Three commune chiefs in Mondulkiri province were reprimanded after it was found they were involved in forestland encroachment, officials said.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng has ordered provincial governor Svay Sam Eang to take action against the commune chiefs in O’Raing and Keo Seima districts because they were involved with illegal logging and forestland clearing.

The officials were Thvan Trel, Sen Monorom commune chief, Peup Pe, Sre Preah commune chief and But Sam El, Sre Khtum commune chief.

Trel, Pe and Sam El could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The trio were disciplined under Article 84 of the Law on Commune Administration.

Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra told Khmer Times that the ministry, including local authorities, are cracking down on forest land clearing and encroachment in Mondulkiri province.

”Officials who are involved in illegal logging or allow loggers to cut down trees will be prosecuted,” Pheaktra said. “Both the Ministry of Environment and the local authorities are trying to prevent these problems every day.”

Eang Mengly, coordinator for local human rights group Adhoc, applauded the actions, saying that powerful officials involved should not be allowed to go scot-free.

“We call on the authorities to take clear and thorough action against the perpetrators, and to enforce the law equally so that certain individuals or officials will face the law,” he said.

Last week, Sin Vanvuth was fired as Koh Nhek district governor over land encroachment after an inter-ministerial team investigating a case of encroachment on forest land in a protected area in Mondulkiri province found him guilty of negligence in his role and responsibilities.

According to the nine-month report by the provincial Environment Department, park rangers cracked down on about 1,500 natural resource crimes, of which 84 cases were sent to the court, 26 were fined, 34 vehicles were impounded and 2,957 traps were removed.

 

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