Ousted Funcinpec Officials Air Grievances

A group of disgruntled former Fun­cinpec governors and deputy governors who were ousted from their positions earlier this month aired their grievances with party of­ficials on Monday, while senior Fun­cinpec official Nhiek Bun Chhay denied that he planned a party takeover.

Nineteen governors and depu­ty governors who were denied positions in the new government have decried their replacements and called for the removal of Prince Norodom Sirivudh, the par­ty’s secretary-general and co-min­ister of the interior.

At a meeting with a special “co­or­dinating” committee, set up by the party to address their complaints, the former governors and deputy governors called for their replacements to be throroughly investigated.

“We have raised irregularities in the selection of the officials in the provinces,” said former Kan­dal province governor Tep Non­nary.

He charged that some of the new provincial and municipal officials were not even Funcinpec members.

The committee agreed to forward their complaints to Fun­cin­pec President Prince Norodom Ra­nariddh, who is attending an Asean parliamentary meeting in Pakistan. The committee also plans to hold another meeting on Wednesday, Tep Nonnary said.

Lach Sim Oun, former deputy governor of Prey Veng province, said he had spent at least $14,500 to build a Funcinpec office in his province, and to pay for campaign costs in the 2002 commune elections and 2003 national elections.

To be stripped of his position was unfair, he said.

“I spent all my own money, in­clud­ing my children’s money for the party. I have nothing today. It is unjust that I get nothing from my investment,” he said. “Usually we make investments to get benefits.”

Nhiek Bun Chhay, chairman of the committee, agreed on Mo­n­day that irregularities and corruption had occurred. But, he said, “It’s not a big problem.”

Earlier Monday, Nhiek Bun Chhay issued a statement, denying rumors he planned to take over as Funcinpec president.

“I support 100 percent that Prince Ranariddh be president of Funcinpec forever,” he wrote.

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