Kampong Speu’s Baset district administration has suspended all land purchase and sale activities around the Ta Nuon and Ta Deng Reservoirs, as well as the release of stored water from Ta Nuon, following warnings by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU).
Sao Rith, deputy governor and spokesman for the district administration, said on January 18 that after receiving a January 16 letter from the ACU, an official decision was made to suspend the activities.
According to ACU’s letter, all the activities land trading around the reservoirs and the release of water must be suspended and warned that if the district governor Chheun Sothon did not halt these activities, he could face suspension.
The administration immediately informed traders to cease any dealings with Sin Sarun, the district administration director. It also ordered Sarun to halt the release of water from Por Mreal.
Rith said he was unaware of how many hectares of land had been sold, but estimated there is 160ha surrounding the reservoirs, with newly erected boundary posts on some sections.
“Boundary posts have been positioned on state land, suggested the sale of the land, or the intent to sell it. We have removed several of the markers in the past, but they have returned. We are unsure who is responsible,” he added.
Rith explained that the first reservoir and dam, the Ta Nuon, is located in Ta Nuon village, Por Mreal commune. The second is in Ta Deng village of Baset district. Both are used for fishing, harvesting, and dry season irrigation.
Soy Chanvichet, ACU spokesman, said the unit was investigating the possible sale of state land, but had informed the district board of governors to put a stop to the sales until its findings were released.
“We have not yet concluded our work. As we are still assembling all of the facts, continued commercial activity will muddy the waters and make our investigation more complex,” he added.
As the case remained an active one, he was not prepared to speculate as to the size of the sections that may have been sold.
The Post could not reach district administration director Sarun for comment.