You Hockry Allegations Stall Firing

Embattled co-Minister of In­terior You Hockry has accused Funcinpec of faking an order that calls for his ouster from the ministry, saying the signatures of top party officials either were faked or the members were forced to sign the order.

His allegation, delivered to party President Prince Norodom Rana­riddh on Wednesday, will require a second firing order from the 62-member Funcinpec Steering Committee, party officials said.

By late Thursday, 45 committee members had signed the second order. Other members who had returned to their homes in the provinces are now returning to Phnom Penh and are expected to sign it today or Saturday, a high- ranking Funcinpec official said.

“We want to do this because we want to save the party and compete [in] the national election in 2003,” said the high-ranking Funcinpec official.

Top Funcinpec officials demanded in March that You Hockry be removed from his position be­cause they said he has en­gaged in nepotism and corruption. His removal comes amid a shakeup of top officials de­signed to strengthen the party ahead of the 2003 national elections.

General Khan Savoeun, deputy commander-in-chief of RCAF and among those leading the calls for You Hockry’s removal, said Thurs­day that no one was forced to sign anything.

“I did not force anyone on the [Funcinpec] Steering Committee to sign an order,” Khan Sa­voeun said. “I am accused of faking signatures and forcing steering committee members to sign an order to fire You Hockry—but they did it by themselves. How could I force them to sign it? They are in a very high position in the government. ”

Khan Savoeun added that he was offered the co-minister position in 1998, but delayed taking the post when You Hockry asked if he could hold on to it for six more months if Prince Ranariddh agreed. Khan Savoeun said Prince Ranariddh granted the request, and You Hockry never relinquished the post.

“It was not my idea to get this position back. If I wanted it, I would not have given him another six months,” Khan Savoeun said Thursday. “It is the steering committee members’ spirit. What I have done is for the people and the party’s interest.”

You Hockry recently ran afoul of high party members when it was learned that he had a private list of suspected members of the Cambodian Freedom Fighters that included Prince Norodom Sirivudh, Khan Savoeun and Senator Nhiek Bun Chhay, am­ong other Funcinpec members.

His troubles within the party go back to before the July 1997 factional fighting. According to a high-ranking Funcinpec official, You Hockry secretly signed aan agreement to share power between Funcinpec and the CPP in one district in 1996 without telling Prince Ranariddh.


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