Rural official faces land grab probe

Trees lie uprooted in a cleared part of the protected forest. Supplied

Trees lie uprooted in a cleared part of the protected forest. Supplied

The head of Mondulkiri province’s rural development department faces prosecution for allegedly clearing more than 20 hectares of protected state forest for his own use.
Provincial police officer Keo Savuth said that between 2014 and this year, Yon Sarorm cleared 23 hectares in Sen Monorom town without permission.
Mr. Savuth said Mr. Sarom’s land grab was stopped recently in a crackdown by provincial authorities, who temporarily confiscated his tractors and bulldozers as well as other related items.
Mr. Sarom faces a complaint from the provincial environment department of “illegally clearing the state’s forests and forest invasion in order to occupy the land cleared as properties.”
If convicted, he faces a jail term of five to 10 years.
“Besides this, other related materials such as tractors and bulldozers that have temporarily been confiscated from him shall be also seized as state property,” Mr. Savuth said. A deputy prosecutor at the provincial court, who asked not be named, confirmed yesterday that the court has received Mr. Sarom’s case.
“After the prosecutor has completely studied the case, we will summon him to the court for questioning,” he told Khmer Times. He declined to comment further.
Mr. Sarom could not be contacted for comment.

Source: Khmer Times



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