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Land official accused of corruption

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Land management department director Prak Poly. CEN

Land Management Minister Chea Sophara has established a working group to carry out an inspection of the Banteay Meanchey provincial land management department over alleged irregularities.

In a letter dated Tuesday, he said the nine-member working group, led by Sar Sovann, a ministry secretary of state, is tasked with checking on the provincial department’s cadastral work, construction, personnel management and the provision of public services.

The group is also tasked with scrutinizing the implementation of systematic land registration plans before reporting back to the ministry.

Mr Sovann and Pen Chan Sok Khemara, the group’s deputy chief, yesterday declined to provide details about the inspection, but noted that the working group had already started its task.

A report penned by department officials and sent to the ministry, which was obtained by Khmer Times yesterday, accuses department director Prak Poly of nepotism, extortion and inactivity in his position.

The report said Mr Poly was ordered to establish five working groups in connection with land title registrations of nearly 50,000 plots of land across the province, but only created one group in Poipet city and his brother Prak Polin had allegedly extorted money from villagers for the registration work.

“Ministry officials assigned earlier to carry out an inspection on Mr Poly’s work colluded with him and his brother. They produced a bogus report to the ministry,” the report added.

It also noted that Mr Poly always showed up at the office late and only signed documents believed to be related to bribery.

The report said he brought his younger brother to work in the department to illegally require people to pay money when issuing them land title certificates.

“Mr Poly froze land title registrations of people who did not bribe him,” the report said. “He is also a culprit behind construction without permits and has caused other problems.”

Mr Poly yesterday denied the accusations, noting that the report was written by a few provincial officials who dislike his leadership.

“I will cooperate with the ministry’s working group. I am not worried of anything because I did nothing wrong. I acknowledge that a few officials and some people don’t like me, but some like and respect me a lot,” he said. “I have always followed the law.”

Mr Poly noted that he has always followed orders from Mr Sophara and considers criticism as an impetus for him to improve his work.

Sum Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, yesterday said he is aware of the allegations against Mr Poly, adding that the group has received complaints from people about his actions.

“Many people lodged complaints to Adhoc because they do not trust the provincial court,” he said. “Mr Poly was accused of bribery in many cases and I have contacted him requesting for a meeting but he never replied.”

The inspection comes in the wake of three Pursat land management officials being charged over corruption earlier this week.

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