7NG Claims a Legal Right to Dey Krahorm

The company behind the contested development of Dey Kra­horm village in Phnom Penh has moved to clarify its legal position, claiming that it had an agreement with the community to build them alternative housing in Dang­kao district, and that it was supported by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In a statement Monday, the com­­pany, 7NG, said it had been agreed that Dey Krahorm residents would be re-housed in the village itself in 2003, but the community failed to find a company to partner with to construct suitable social housing at the site.

The community had held unsuccessful discussions with Phanimex Co, Mong Reththy Group and Vinh Huor Co, but eventually reached an agreement with 7NG in 2005, the company claimed.

Because high-rise apartments would have been unsuitable for the disabled and the elderly, and as the site was too small for individual houses, 7NG agreed to build 1,471 flats in Choam Chao commune, Dangkao district, in exchange for the 3.6 hectares of land in Dey Krahorm, the 7NG statement added.

This agreement was sent to the municipality, before Hun Sen approved it on March 31, 2006, the statement added.

“Based on the in principle ap­proval from Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen…and with the attention and direction of [Phnom Penh Governor] Kep Chuktema… [7NG] decided to construct 1,471 residential flats for 1,465 families,” it added.

Housing rights groups reiterated Monday that 7NG’s claim to Dey Krahorm land is invalid as the agreement with the company was signed by a few village representatives and not the actual residents.

“Under Cambodia’s Contract Law, Article 35 clearly states that someone cannot sell someone else’s property,” said Phann Sithan, a coordinator with the Housing Rights Task Force, a coalition of more than 20 Cambodian and international NGOs working on land and housing rights issues.

“At a minimum, there would need to have been written authorization signed by the families of Dey Krahorm empowering their community representatives to do this and no such document exists,” he said.

Those remaining at Dey Kra­horm–thought to be between 80 and 150 families–say they do not wish to leave their city center homes for houses around 25 km away. Also, the cash alternative offered by 7NG, reported to be around $6,000 per plot, does not reflect the value of the land.

Poeng Srey On, a representative for the remaining residents at Dey Krahorm, said that the 36 community chiefs who signed the 2003 agreement with 7NG did so for their own individual reasons.

“We, the Dey Krahorm residents did not authorize those chiefs to do this,” she added.

However, Phan Narin, a former Dey Krahorm community chief, said that residents supported his signing of the agreement at the time.

“7NG gave the best choice to the people,” he said.


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