PM Implies F’pec Sold Machines Meant for Public

Continuing his verbal assault on Funcinpec, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday demanded to know what had happened to 100 water pumps and 50 small tractors that he said he gave to Prince Nor­o­dom Ranariddh to help the public cultivate rice.

Speaking at a school inauguration in Kompong Thom province, Hun Sen said he suspected the items, which he gave to the Funcinpec president in 2004, may not have reached their intended targets.

“I gave them to the Prince. I don’t know where they are,” he said in a speech broadcast on the radio. “I suspect they are already sold.”

Hun Sen also told CPP officials not to provide any more free diesel, which government staff are usually given, to officials in Prince Rana­riddh’s embattled party.

“People have accused that Sa­m­dech [Hun Sen] gave a lot but the [items] may be at the markets,” he said.

Funcinpec Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Nhiek Bun Chhay said he had been in charge of the equipment in question. “We didn’t sell [them],” said Nhiek Bun Chhay, adding that only 30 tractors and 50 pumping ma­ch­ines were provided.

Funcinpec Senior Minister Serei Kosal said he had requested a water pump from Nhiek Bun Chhay last year to help the poor, but never re­ceived one. “I don’t know where the equipment is,” he said.

Hun Sen also asked CPP candidates for National Assembly president and first deputy president not to appoint as many advisers as Prince Ranariddh did during his presidency, from which he resigned on March 3. Officials said earlier this month that more than 100 Funcin­pec advisers and assistants to Prince Rana­­riddh would lose their jobs as a result of his resignation.

“I hope that Samdech Heng Sam­rin and his excellency Nguon Nhel don’t appoint too many advisers like that,” said Hun Sen, who has 56 ad­vi­sers. The prime minister added that Prince Ranariddh used to spend about $500,000 on his advisers each year. CPP Honorary Presi­dent Heng Samrin is a candidate for Assembly president, while lawmaker Nguon Nhel is a candidate for the first dep­u­ty position. Hun Sen said the pair should only appoint candidates who are prepared to work.

“Don’t appoint those who accept the salary and go for a walk,” he said, adding that Nguon Nhel currently has 10 advisers while Heng Samrin has 20. “For me, I have many advisers be­cause I have a lot of work,” he ex­plained.

Popular television comedian Pok Thareth, an aide to the prince, said he used to receive $350 per month until the prince resigned, and that he worked hard for his salary.

“I worked the same as Prime Min­ister Hun Sen’s advisers,” he said.

 

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