Ousted CMAA Chief Sam Sotha Assigned New Gov’t Position

Sam Sotha, who was replaced as head of the Cambodian Mine Action Authority last week, will be appointed to a new government position, Information Minister and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said Sunday.

“The Council of Ministers are considering [Sam Sotha] for a new position; you will know tomorrow,” Khieu Kanharith said by telephone.

Following a series of corruption scandals, Sam Sotha was removed in 1999 as director-general of the Cambodian Mine Action Center, the country’s donor-funded mine clearance organization, before being named as the first-ever director of the CMAA the next year.

Khieu Kanharith said that after eight years at the CMAA it was time for Sam Sotha to move on to a new role. He added that Sam So­tha’s removal “is not related to guilt.”

Sam Sotha could not be reached for comment Sunday.

On Dec 26, officials announced that Sam Sotha was to be replaced by Chum Bunrong, an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Chum Bunrong, who will be appointed head of the CMAA during today’s ceremony, said Sunday that he was proud and honored by his new position, adding that it was his “moral obligation” to help clear landmines, “to make the land safer for our people.”

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