Mondolkiri Agricultural Official Reinstated

A Mondolkiri province official has been reinstated as agricultural director almost one year after being suspended on suspicion he took part in an illegal logging and smuggling scam in the province.

Eng Bung Heang resumed his duties last month after being cleared as a suspect in an operation that transported illegally cut logs to Vietnam, Mondolkiri Gov­er­nor Tor Soeuth said Thursday.

Eng Bun Heang, then Mondol­kiri Governor Chom Bun Khan and Deputy Governor Meas Thong were suspended in Jan­uary after it was discovered that around 400 truckloads of illegally cut logs were transported to Vietnam in late 1999.

Though the former governor and deputy governor were sack­ed, no charges were brought against them. An additional seven provincial officials who were also implicated in the log smuggling operation, are still in prison, Prey Sar Prison Director Kuy Bunsron said on Thur­sday.

The detention of the seven officials was appealed in April when a group of five senators and parliamentarians sent a letter to Phnom Penh Municipal Court officials requesting the suspects be released on bail and allowed return to Mondolkiri during the pre-trial investigation. Court officials rejected the appeal.

Kim Chea Sophoan, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Parliamentarian Relations and Inspections Committee, said the government sent a letter to a Vietnamese company inquiring if they intended to pay for the logs, which they received illegally from Cambodia, but the company has not replied.

, Kim Chea Sophoan said.


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