Planning Minister to Head Bank

Planning Minister and former bank executive Chea Chanto has been appointed as the new governor of the National Bank of Cam­bodia, officials confirmed Friday.

At the same time, the incumbent governor Thor Peng Leath formally resigned from the post.

Acting Head of State Chea Sim signed three decrees Tuesday enabling the new governor to be named, Chea Sim’s director of cabinet Oum Sarith said Friday.

The decrees, normally signed by the King but approved by Chea Sim in his absence, allow Thor Peng Leath to resign and appointed Chea Chanto as the new governor. A third decree appoints Thor Peng Leath to a new position as special advisor to the government, Oum Sarith explained.

A senior government adviser said last week that Chea Chanto was a practical choice to succeed Thor Peng Leath.

“He’s competent to do the job,” the adviser said. “Not necessarily competent in a technical or financial way but competent in that his appointment will satisfy the team surrounding Hun Sen. It’s not easy to find someone to do that and it must be done.”

The adviser said he does not expect much change in the policy of the National Bank, which sets monetary policy and controls the country’s supply of currency.

Officials would not disclose why Thor Peng Leath resigned, but bank officials have said that disagreements existed between the governor and staff.

Chea Chanto was the deputy director of the National Bank in 1982 under the communist government of the People’s Republic of Kampuchea. He also held exe­cutive positions in two other banks in the early 1980s.

In 1986 he was made minister of planning and continued to hold that post until the Untac era.

Elected as a CPP National Ass­embly member in the 1993 poll, he was once again appointed minster of planning, a position he has held until now. He is a member of the CPP central committee.

The new governor cannot take up his post at the National Bank of Cambodia until he has been formally sworn in by the Council of Ministers in the presence of the two prime ministers.

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