PM: Fraudulent Officials Must Leave Positions

As part of a plan for “extreme reform,” Prime Minister Hun Sen de­manded on Monday that people who have purchased the names and positions of government officials step forward and abandon their posts or face prosecution.

Hun Sen said the country is rife with governors, military police chiefs, police chiefs and soldiers who are operating under identities that they have bought from the real officials, who he said are working on farms.

“I urge those [government officials] who bought names to come for­ward and confess immediately, be­cause the real people are farming in the provinces,” Hun Sen said during an inauguration ceremony in Siem Reap province on Mon­­day, which was broadcast over Apsara Radio.

“Those who bought the names should walk away from the gov­ern­ment. Those who bought names will be erased from the government and might be sent to the court to be prosecuted,” he con­tinued.

Hun Sen added that those who stepped forward now would be forgiven, and that those who sold their names would be recruited to work in the government at competitive salaries.

“People whose names were sold, please file complaints to me di­rectly,” Hun Sen said.

Hun Sen pledged to institute “ex­treme reform” by culling the gov­ernment of officials he says are incompetent.

Though he said he plans to re­move incompetent CPP officials, all removals so far have been mem­bers of his party’s beleaguered coalition partner, Funcin­pec.

Hun Sen also announced yet another removal of a Funcinpec of­ficial from the government. He said Oddar Meanchey Provincial Gov­er­nor Kuch Moly had been fired and replaced by CPP member and third deputy governor of Si­em Reap province Pich Sokhin.

Kuch Moly is trained only as a cus­toms officer and is not qualified to be a governor, Hun Sen said.

Hun Sen added that Funcinpec mem­ber and recently removed Si­em Reap provincial governor Sim Son would be a new secretary of state for the Ministry of Rural De­velopment.

Hun Sen also warned Funcin­pec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh that he is considering firing 1,200 royalist government of­ficials in response to critical com­ments from Funcinpec lawmaker Monh Saphan.

Last month, Monh Saphan asked why only Funcinpec officials had been removed as part of Hun Sen’s reform plans.

Mon Saphan said Monday that he would cease posing such ques­tions.

“I will stop talking about it, be­cause if I talk, I will not succeed.”

Foreign diplomats said they were watching the situation de­velop, but were not worried about the possibility of one-party rule.

One diplomat said on condition of anonymity that it was normal for a ruling party to consolidate its power ahead of an election, and that government functions would suf­fer little if Funcinpec was re­moved entirely.

“Donors are worried about many things, but they are not worried about that,” the diplomat said, adding: “After the election, the odds are that we will have a one-party government.”

(Additional reporting by Whitney Kvasager)


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