Nearly 200 villagers have filed a complaint to the Ministry of Interior, asking for the ministry to fire two commune council officials after the two were accused of embezzling $8,000 from the sale of village farmland in March.
The complainants, from Prek Thloeng village in Dangkao district’s Cheung Ek commune, demanded that commune chief Sun Siv and commune clerk Mam Sarin be fired. The villagers lodged the complaint on Dec 6 after learning that they had been deceived about the land sale, according to villager Toek Channa, 45.
Villagers were told that 44 hectares of land was sold to a speculator, Toek Channa said. Instead, he said, a total of 48 hectares were sold. He accused commune officials of pocketing the difference.
“The government should investigate these officials and find justice for the villagers,” Toek Channa said. “If they are corrupt, they should be fired.”
The two commune officials denied taking any money. The officials said the four hectares in question were, in fact, claimed by 11 families in nearby Takhmau district, Kandal province.
Sun Siv said last week that about 10 representatives of the village’s 188 families had been selected to inspect and approve the contract for the sale last March.
The land, idle except for dry season rice paddies, had been largely unused since the 1980s, villagers said.
“I made no mistake because the sale was agreed by all villagers,” Sun Siv said.
Sak Setha, director general of the Interior Ministry’s administration department, said Tuesday that he had not yet received the villagers’ complaint. Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry, has said that officials will investigate the case once they receive a complaint.
Sun Siv said Interior Ministry officials asked him to meet with them about the issue last Tuesday.