Deputy governor, oknha face corruption charges in land dispute

A Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor on July 7 charged Battambang Provincial Deputy Governor Sou Arafat and an oknha, Sorng Than, with corruption for their involvement in a land dispute with 200 villagers.

The two men had allegedly colluded to obtain land titles for 5,000 hectares of state forest land, occupied by hundreds of villagers, in Kors Kralor district’s Preah Phos and Chhnal Mann communes in a case dating back a decade. The dispute is now awaiting a resolution after Prime Minister Hun Sen last week ordered an inter-ministerial working group to settle the conflict.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Kuch Kimlong said July 7 that Deputy Prosecutor Soeun Moniroth had decided to charge “Oknha Sorng Than with instigation, intentional destruction and embezzlement, and bribery,” while “Sou Arafat was charged with intentional destruction and embezzlement and taking bribery.”

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