CPP-Appointed Battambang Governor Fired

The CPP-appointed governor of Battambang province has been dismissed from office although the reasons for his removal are not yet clear, Co-Minister of Interior You Hockry said Tuesday.

You Hockry said he signed the order removing Nov Sam Mon­day night on the instructions of co-minister of Interior and senior CPP member Sar Kheng.

“I don’t know why” Sar Kheng wanted the governor removed, You Hockry said. “I just signed it.”

Sar Kheng could not be reach­ed for comment.

A senior Interior official, who spoke on the condition of ano­nymity, said Nov Sam was suspected of being involved in un­sanctioned logging and mining in the former of Khmer Rouge strong­­hold of Samlot.

He said Nov Sam is also accused of general mismanagement.

Nov Sam denied he had been involved in any wrongdoing.

“I am not wrong,” he said Tue­s­day. “I just did my work according to the government’s orders.”

He said he had not yet been officially notified of the government’s decision and had heard of it only from newspaper reporters.

Prach Chan, general director of Interior’s Administration Depart­ment and a close aide to Sar Kheng, is slated to take over the governorship, You Hockry said.

Prach Chan declined to comment on whether he had been asked to take up the post.

Last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen vowed that government officials found to be involved in illegal logging would be punished, warning them not to be “confused” about his position on the matter.

Late last year the governor of Mondolkiri province was re­moved amid allegations he was involved in illegal logging.



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