Logging investigation finished

Source: Phnom Penh Post

Eight trucks driven by Vietnamese timber transporters seized by authorities in Mondulkiri province last month. The case prompted an investigation, with an anti-logging task force now questioning officials accused of corruption. Photo supplied

Members of the prime minister’s anti-logging task force who had been looking into officials’ alleged collusion with Vietnamese timber smugglers in Mondulkiri has ended its 10-day investigation.

Hong Vinol – a deputy commander in the national military  police who led the investigation – said yesterday the group had ended its investigation and was back in Phnom Penh working on its report and recommendations for task force chief Sao Sokha this week.

National Police chief Neth Savoeun earlier this month released a report alleging that more than a dozen police, army and military police officials in Mondulkiri accepted $170,000 in bribes to allow timber smuggling to Vietnam.

That investigation was triggered in February when authorities intercepted an illegal timber haul in Keo Seima protected area, arrested Vietnamese nationals and seized 145 logs.

Vinol told The Post yesterday that the task force had spent 10 days in Mondulkiri province interrogating more than 40 officials associated with the alleged corruption, including soldiers, police and military police.

He said, however, that he was “just an inspector for the national committee to investigate this case to seek for the truth”, and was not authorised to comment on the results.

The spokesman for the military police and the task force, Eng Hy, said that the team is still working on the case and declined to comment as well.

Mam Vanda, spokesman for the Mondulkiri Provincial Court, said that the report might be used to summons suspects.

According to Vinol, the decision to impose administrative punishments or bring charges against involved officials would rest with the anti-logging committee.

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