Poipet city councilors said they interviewed 17 village and commune chiefs yesterday regarding a petition signed by 867 of their constituents calling for the removal of a commune police chief for his alleged wrongdoings.
City council director Sok Khoeurn said he and his fellow counselors met with 15 village chiefs and two commune chiefs for “preliminary information to be collected from all involved parties.”
Mr Khoeurn clarified, however, that the council would not be interviewing Nimit commune police chief Keo Chhun, whom residents accuse of extorting money from locals. He said that would be left to the city police department.
“We interviewed each…chief face to face separately to ensure secrecy of the information and to collect information with transparency,” Mr Khoeurn said.
“To remove him from his post would not be a strange or new event for a civil servant, because civil servant rotations have been done regularly to ensure effectiveness and efficiency and good governance,” he said.
Poipet police chief Oum Sophal said his department would begin its own investigation into the allegations against Nimit commune police chief Mr Chhun, who has occupied his current post for the past 13 months, next week.
“I don’t know the details about this police officer’s achievements or misconducts,” said Mr Sophal, who took up his own post only six months ago.
O’Chrou village chief Chan Mos, one of those interviewed yesterday, said he told the council about Mr Chhun’s alleged extortions.
“His performance as a judicial police officer is only arresting and extorting money from innocent people,” Mr Mos alleged. “To keep him here only causes problems and makes locals get poorer.”
Nimit commune chief Pal Setha said his constituents were anxiously awaiting the outcome of their petition.
“To ensure good security and safety for local villagers, that police officer who always abuses the rules must be punished,” he said.
Mr Chhun could not be reached for comment yesterday. During an interview on Thursday, however, the commune police chief denied the allegations and said he had done nothing wrong.