The ruling CPP plans to file a municipal court lawsuit to take over Phnom Penh’s historic Renakse Hotel from its longtime manager, according to CPP lawyer Khiev Sepphan.
In an apparent violation of a 49-year lease held by the son of hotel manager Kem Chantha, the CPP sold the property to Alexson Inc earlier this year without notifying Kem Chantha.
Both Khiev Sepphan and Minister of Religion Min Khin, who was involved in the sale, have said Kem Chantha would be forcibly removed from the hotel if she refused to make room for the new owners.
The hotel will initially be temporarily used as overflow office space for the Council of Ministers, Min Khin has said.
Khiev Sepphan said Sunday that those plans were on hold, pending a meeting between Min Khin and Sok An, the minister in charge of the Council of Ministers.
“I told the CPP leaders not to seize the property by force until after the meeting,” Khiev Sepphan said, but did not specify when the meeting would be held.
Min Khin could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Kem Chantha said Sunday that she would stay put.
“I will not move because CPP President Chea Sim told me not to move,” she claimed.
However, according to a Sept 20 letter provided by Kem Chantha, the top leaders of the CPP formally agreed to sell the Renakse property.
The letter, written by Min Khin, bears signatures of approval from Prime Minister Hun Sen, Assembly President Heng Samrin, lawmaker Chea Soth and Min Khin, and claims Kem Chantha violated her lease by not maintaining the property. Kem Chantha denies the allegation.
Khiev Sepphan posted a photocopy of a Cambodia Public Bank check made out to Kem Chantha for $200,000 on the wall of the Renakse Hotel 11 days ago.
Kem Chantha said she will not vacate the property to claim the check.