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Battambang governor denies accusations of nepotism

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Battambang provincial governor Nguon Ratanak has denied an allegation that he appointed relatives to positions contrary to requirements, saying all appointments had undergone standard procedures. FACEBOOK

Battambang governor denies accusations of nepotism

Battambang provincial governor Nguon Ratanak denied an allegation that he had appointed his relatives to positions contrary to the requirements.

Ratanak told The Post on Sunday that the allegation was not true as the appointments were decided by the relevant ministries themselves. All appointments, he said, had undergone standard procedures.

“The allegation against me is wrong – it is contrary to the truth. I already testified at the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). The process of the appointments is done according to standards in line with the law and formalities," Ratanak stressed.

An anonymous letter filed to the ACU and obtained by The Post on Sunday claimed Ratanak had appointed his relatives to jobs contrary to the requirements of the positions.

He appointed his wife Hong Phanny as deputy head of the provincial health department who didn’t meet the requirements of the position.

The appointment was contrary to a sub-decree stipulating that the capital and provincial specialist officials have to consist of only three deputy heads of the health department. But the Battambang provincial health department consisted of up to four deputy heads.

The letter said Ratanak's brother Nguon Vibol was appointed as Banan district deputy governor and his cousin Ho Lun Seyha as the head of the district office of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.

Another cousin Loeung Sinaro was appointed the head of the administrative office at the Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction in Battambang.

Also, the letter stated that his cousin Nguon Sathya had been appointed as an employee at the provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction and his in-law Ty Kim Heng as the head of the provincial office for Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction.

A friend of his in-law (Ty Kim Heng), Soy Sery was also appointed the head of the provincial office for Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction in Kamrieng district.

After the anonymous letter to the ACU, Ratanak was called in to give his statement on September 25 and denied the allegation.

He said the appointment of Phanny as deputy head of the provincial Health Department came at the request of the department when it asked for the appointment of two deputy heads through a letter dated October 22 last year.

However, as the provincial department is busy providing health services, it asked the board of governors for permission from the Ministry of Health to check and decide to open an additional post as deputy head of department.

ACU president Om Yentieng could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey said the appointment of relatives to the sub-national level should not have occurred. The vacancies should have allowed capable people to contribute.

“If the national-level policy speaks about reform, but the partisan issue still occurs, then it becomes problematic. It goes against the national policy on reforms by the government.

“To solve the problem, the Ministry of Interior and the ACU must collaborate in investigations and take greater care to stop such matters in sub-national administrations,” he said.

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