Wife of Senior Official Duped in Land Deal

Kandal province court ruled on Tues­­­day that it could not enforce a court order giving Kol Sokhom, the wife of Interior Ministry Sec­re­tary of State Khan Savoeun, 15 hectares of land legally owed to her, be­cause the land does not exist.

The ruling on the nonexistent land goes back to a 1997 deal in which Kol Sokhom asked Khat Kim Leang to purchase $80,000 worth of land in Kandal province, Pro­se­cu­tor Chheng Phat said.

When Kol Sokhom later asked to see the land, Khat Kim Leang showed her property owned by several villagers in Sa’ang district, Chheng Phat said.

In 2004, the court determined that Khat Kim Leang had kept the money, and she was ordered to give 15 hectares of her own land as compensation to Kol Sokhom, Chheng Phat said.

Khat Kim Leang, however, who was arrested two months ago in connection with another al­leged scam, does not actually own any land, Chheng Phat said.

“I can’t enforce this verdict,” Chheng Phat said, adding that he did not know why court clerks did not visit Khat Kim Leang’s alleged land to verify it existed.

Kol Sokhom could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

In a separate case, two Cam­bo­dian men were charged, and another two were being sought by police, for using fraudulent documents and stealing private property after they purchased land on behalf of a Tai­wan­ese company then alleg­ed­ly resold it, officials said Wednes­day.

The four purchased 57 hec­tares of land in 1993 for Civica In­vestment and Development Co, Civica’s lawyer, Chhit Boravuth, said.

Two years ago, however, the four men allegedly used the land titles and registration to resell the still-undeveloped property for an undisclosed amount of money, a Phnom Penh Municipal Court clerk said.



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