An owner of the New Hope Co Ltd construction company, which was awarded a contract to construct the new Ministry of National Assembly and Senate Relations and Inspections on a public park in Phnom Penh, denied on Friday that his firm does not have offices.
New Hope has been promised half the land of a large playing field and garden in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac commune in exchange for constructing and equipping the new ministry for free.
The only company address listed at the Ministry of Commerce was found to be non-existent.
Lay Bunpa, one of New Hope’s owners, said on Friday that his offices do exist, but they were being moved and he would be able to provide an address in three months time.
Lay Bunpa was evasive about his company’s plans for its half of the prime real estate, saying that he could not trust the media to tell the truth.
Government officials in a number of ministries have deferred questions about the bidding process for the project to each other and to New Hope.
Chea Sophara, former Phnom Penh governor and secretary of state for the Ministry of Land Management, Urbanization and Construction, said Thursday that he was unaware of plans for the new ministry building.
The site, once a notorious squatter village razed by a fire, was turned into a public garden by then-Phnom Penh governor Chea Sophara in 2001. The garden abuts a decrepit housing complex and residents have expressed dismay over losing their green space.