National Assembly lawmakers Wednesday said they were outraged by the Ministry of Rural Development’s Director-General Ly Pros, who they say took a piece of government land for himself and is intent on developing it.
Twenty-three parliamentarians, led by Funcinpec lawmaker Keo Remy, sent a letter to Hun Sen earlier this month, requesting that Ly Pros be dismissed.
So far, no action has been taken, they say, except that now Ly Pros has put a fence around the 3,265-square-meter property in Russei Keo district and has leveled the land for development.
Ly Pros “wants to mock the parliamentarians,” Keo Remy said during Wednesday’s Assembly session. “He has been defying the prime minister’s orders by not returning the land” to the Ministry of Rural Development, Keo Remy said, citing at least five documents that have circulated between Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Inspection Ministry and the Ministry of Finance, among others.
Keo Remy asked Finance Minister Keat Chhon, who attended Wednesday’s meeting, to raise this issue with the premier.
Ly Pros has already been implicated in a land scandal that included double-billing rural road projects with money from Japan and Germany. Instead of being punished, he was promoted to his current position, lawmakers said.
One Rural Development Ministry official, who did not want to be named, said that did not bode well for any action to be taken.
“If no one can touch him, that is a big problem for the Ministry of Rural Development,” the official said. “It is a kind of corruption.”
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yip, chairman of the finance and banking commission, said he signed the letter to Hun Sen because “state property is obviously being abused by Ly Pros.”
“We have enough documents to implicate [Ly Pros] for taking the state land,” Cheam Yip said.
Ly Pros could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
(Additional reporting by Brian Calvert)