via CAAI News Media
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 15:03 May Titthara
AROUND 100 villagers protested in front of the Kampong Speu provincial governor’s office Monday, demanding their village chief be dismissed amid allegations of corruption.
The group, from the Daek Phleung village in Samrong Tong district, told the Post that since Chab Chhon was appointed village chief in September 2009, he had been pocketing profits from the sale of public land, a claim he vehemently denies.
“As the village chief I only act to protect the interests of my villagers,” he said, denying the land had even been sold.
“If they accuse me of selling land, they should please have some evidence, because a land title can only be signed by the commune chief and the district governor,” he said.
A representative of the villagers, Chhuong Veasna, said he believed the land had been sold to an unknown Chinese factory for an unknown amount, and that the village chief had kept the cash.
“We want a village chief who helps people and who is not corrupt,” he said. He also threatened to “protest in front of the prime minister’s house in Phnom Penh” if the villagers’ demands were not met.
Hem Lev, representing Ralaing Kroeul commune, defended the village chief, attributing the protests to jealousy and power struggles.
“There are some powerful people in the village, and they want to make a problem with us,” he said.