Ministry of Information Holds a Ceremony To Exit Old Building

The Ministry of Information held a Buddhist ceremony Monday morn­ing to say goodbye to its old pre­­mises, which will be demolished to make way for a new $1.6 million structure.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said the old ministry building on Monivong Boulevard is crumbling and needs to be re­placed. In 2004, a sizeable section of the ministry collapsed, but no one was injured.

“We cannot keep the current building. It would fall down and kill us,” Khieu Kanharith said. “The building is a century old without any foundation and is now being destroyed by termites. We will build a new one with the same architecture.”

With construction underway, the ministry will relocate to another building on Monivong Boulevard for about 10 months, Khieu Kanha­rith said. The Ministry of Finance is paying for the construction using the proceeds from a sale of Tuol Kok district land owned by the Information Ministry, he said. Khieu Kanharith would not disclose how much the ministry made from the sale of the land, but said it was enough to cover the cost of the new construction.

Ly Chhuong Construction and Im­port Export Co, Ltd will undertake the building project, Khieu Kanharith said. Ly Chhuong is the son-in-law of senior CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap. Ly Chhuong was giv­en the contract to construct the new National Assembly building, while Cheam Yeap chaired the com­mission in charge of the As­sembly building project.

“There was a bidding process,” Khieu Kanharith said of his ministry’s building project, adding that four other companies—whose names he said he could not re­mem­ber—submitted bids.

SRP lawmaker Yim Sovann said he didn’t believe the bidding pro­cess was opened widely. “I don’t believe that there was a transparent bidding process,” he said, adding that Ly Chhuong Construct­ion was given a no-bid contract to construct the new Assembly building.

A receptionist at Ly Chhuong Construction said Ly Chhuong was too busy to speak with a reporter Monday and Tuesday.




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