The RCAF’s military court building was handed over to an unknown entity almost a year ago, and court staff have moved to a new building at the military prison in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district, co-Minister of Defense Tea Banh said Sunday.
“It was changed almost a year ago for a new building which is almost finished,” Tea Banh said, adding the court property in central Phnom Penh, located near Phsar Thmei in Prampi Makara district, was exchanged and not sold.
“The building is too old to keep. We are afraid it will collapse and kill staff,” he said.
Tea Banh would not say who will occupy the land where the now-demolished military court building once stood and declined to give details of the exchange.
Ney Thol, director of the military court, said Sunday that his office moved to the new building more than 10 days ago. The old one has since been leveled. He described the new building as roomier and safer for moving prisoners from their cells to court. He said he requested a new building because the old one was dilapidated.
“I got a new place. I came to a new place. I returned the old place to the government,” he said.
He did not know how much the Ministry of Finance paid to build the new court. Asked whether the site of the former building had been sold, Ney Thol answered: “Let us end the conversation.” He declined to comment further.
Last week, property investment firm Phanimex Co Ltd revealed it had acquired the Phnom Penh Municipal Police headquarters near Phsar Thmei on Street 51, in exchange for the construction of new headquarters on the outskirts of the city.
Kith Meng, chairman of the Royal Group family of companies, also disclosed this month that he was in talks with the Ministry of Interior to rent land at the state-run Preah Monivong Hospital, attached to the municipal police headquarters.
Meanwhile, a senior police official said last week that the Municipal Traffic Police Department headquarters on the corner of Monivong Boulevard and Russian Boulevard had been sold to an unnamed private firm about one year ago.
Local rights groups have urged the government to reveal deals involving state-owned land.