Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday warned top military, police and other government officials to stop interfering in the appointment of provincial government posts, according to a statement issued by the Council of Ministers.
At the council’s regular Friday meeting, the premier said he would remove officials who interfere with local appointments in a bid to strengthen the transparency and accountability of local governments, according to a statement issued after the meeting.
“Samdech Decho Hun Sen warned all government institutions, the military and police to completely stop the culture of intervention in the transfer and appointment of officials outside of their authorization,” the statement said. According to the statement, the premier also called for an end to the “concept of nepotism.”
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday the prime minister made the remarks in order to combat corruption and strengthen the hand of local authorities, who he said were coming under undue pressure in their personnel decisions from outside officials.
“Samdech [Hun Sen] said [unauthorized] officials who both do the paperwork and propose people for positions will be removed and face lawsuits,” Mr Siphan said.
“His new action is to delegate the actual power to local governments and their ministries, because only local authorities know who has the ability to handle the work,” he said.
According to Mr Siphan, the prime minister singled out upcoming provincial deputy governor vacancies in Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey but stopped short of identifying those who had allegedly interfered in the selection process.
Siem Reap provincial Cabinet chief Ly Samreth acknowledged that many high-ranking officials had been proposing candidates to fill the seat of deputy governor Sok Leakena, who is set to retire in the coming months, although he said he did not know which officials had offered personnel suggestions.
“There is some action from high-ranking officials proposing people to Prime Minister Hun Sen, that’s why he mentioned it,” Mr Samreth said.
Banteay Meanchey deputy governor Em Phoansophal, who watched Friday’s meeting via live video feed, said he welcomed the premier’s words. The province is in the process of replacing deputy governor Sar Chamrong, who has been transferred to the Interior Ministry.