Ranariddh Says PM Can Fire Corrupt Officials

Amidst a rift within his party, Fun­cinpec and National Assembly Presi­dent Prince Norodom Rana­riddh said Wednesday he would al­­low Prime Minister Hun Sen to fire corrupt royalist party government officials.

Speaking to reporters outside the Assembly, Prince Ranariddh agreed with Hun Sen’s comments earlier this week that the government must fire or re­place corrupt officials.

Hun Sen on Tuesday unseated the director of the tax department, Hong Tha, and chastised him in front of participants at a conference on good governance, saying Hong Tha was not able to effectively control officials below him.

Asked whether he would re­move any of his own party members, Prince Ranariddh said: “The fi­nal decision to fire corrupt officials is up to Premier Hun Sen, who is head of the government.

“If we have concrete evi­dence [of corruption], Sam­dech Hun Sen said he has measures which we will take,” he added.

A representatives of a group of 19 Funcinpec ex-governors and de­­puty governors, who have pub­lic­ly decried their recent removal, reacted defensively to Prince Ra­na­­riddh’s comments on Thursday.

Tep Nonnary, former governor of Kandal province, denied any wrongdoing while he was in of­fice, alleging instead that corruption was involved in the decision to re­place him. “It is not true that corrupt officials were replaced. But good officials, who have no mo­ney, were re­­placed with incompetent officials,” he said.

The disgruntled group has de­mand­ed an investigation into their ouster, as well as the removal of Fun­­­cinpec Secretary-General Prince Norodom Sirivudh.

Funcinpec spokesman Tuot Lux said Thursday that Royalist officials are appointed based on their competence.

“There is no ex­change of mo­ney for power” in the appointment of royalist officials, he said. “Some officials were replaced be­­cause [they were] inactive in their work.”             But he added that despite the prince’s stance on corrupt officials, he did not expect that any other Funcinpec officials would be fired.


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