Bank Dumps Plan to Acquire Hospital Land

Canadia Bank officials said they have given up trying to acquire part of state-run Preah Bat No­ro­dom Sihanouk Hospital’s land for the development of apartments, while Deputy Prime Minister Lu Lay­sreng denied Tuesday that he supported the bank’s efforts or negotiated on its behalf.

“I wish to clarify…. I did not make any contact with officials of the hospital,” Lu Laysreng wrote. “I told the bank that they should not buy or rent the land. They should only build on land they have to avoid complication.”

Lu Laysreng acknowledged monday that he had met with Canadia Bank officials to discuss buying the land and said he would speak with Health Minister Nuth Sokhom about the issue.

Nuth Sokhom said on Tues­day, however, that he supported the hospital’s position. When the bank approached him, he wrote a letter to the hospital, clearly stating he preferred it to decline Ca­na­dia’s offer, he said.

Hospital staff on Monday said they had rejected an offer by an unnamed government official who wrote a letter offering to give each tuberculosis patient at the hospital about $0.75 a day for one year if the bank could buy or rent an area roughly 10 by 500 meters.

The TB wing of the hospital would be demolished along with a concrete fence if Canadia’s development plans come to fruition.

Rath Kumnith, legal advisor to Canadia Bank, on Tuesday said “the donation had no ties with… negotiations to rent the land.”

He said that Canadia Bank de­vel­opers wanted to help the hospital by renting the land. It will donate $30,000 to Preah Kos­sa­mak Hospital instead, he added.

Y Tuon Seang, director at Preah Bat Norodom Sihanouk Hospital, said that 460 staff members who are still worried about the possible loss of land, printed their thumbs on petitions to the Ministry of Health and to retired King Norodom Sihanouk.

 

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