Former Banteay Meanchey Official Arrested for Corruption

The Anti-Corruption Unit on Friday arrested a former senior member of the Banteay Meanchey provincial administration for allegedly forging and selling a duplicate land title to 992 hectares of land already owned by a development company, provincial and anti-corruption officials said Sunday.

Ouk Keo Rattanak, who served as the deputy chief of provincial administration as well as spokesman for Banteay Meanchey province, has already been charged with document forgery and corruption, according to provincial prosecutor Phan Vanroath.

Mr. Keo Rattanak’s lawyer, Ty Pov, who allegedly participated in the forgery, was arrested on Saturday and charged with the same offenses, the prosecutor said.

“The two people [Mr. Keo Rattanak and Mr. Pov] were accused of creating fake documents and committing corruption, and they are now in provincial prison,” said Mr. Vanroath. He declined to comment further, citing the fact that the case is now under investigation by Provincial Court President Ang Mealatey.

Both men are being detained in the provincial prison, the prison’s Deputy Director Ouk Siphan confirmed.

Mr. Pov had been summoned for questioning by the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) on Thursday, according to an ACU official who declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak with the media.

Along with Mr. Pov, the ACU also questioned Khu Pov, the governor of Svay Chek district, and Sorm Sokhen, the chief of the provincial inspection office, over the case, but both men were later released and are not expected to face charges.

Khu Pov said Sunday he had been questioned because the forged land title bore his signature. The land in question had originally belonged to a firm called Meanchey Development Company, he said.

“The ACU summoned me for questioning because I signed a forged document that licensed 992 hectares of land to Meanchey Development Company, but they allowed me to return home,” he said. “I told them that I did not commit corruption and only did so [signed the document] because I was told to by authorities.”

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