Two Pailin provincial councillors are calling for a corruption probe of former governor and current council president Y Chhien, accusing him of using $400,000 “not transparently”, and possibly pocketing revenue from sales of natural resources.
Cambodia National Rescue Party council members Ven Ra and Sou Dina yesterday said they will file a request for an investigation by Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) into the 18 years Chhien – who worked as a chief bodyguard for Pol Pot – served as Pailin’s governor.
“We want to know how the former provincial governor used money … and what he spent it on,” Dina said.
“Money from diamonds and wood has run out, but there has been no development,” Ra said. “The forest was destroyed; he did not build anything, he only developed himself.”
Chhien retired as provincial governor in May after reaching the retirement age of 63, and was immediately chosen as council president.
Despite rumours of his stepping down from the council presidency, Ra and Dina said he is still actively serving his position, and Sak Setha, a Ministry of Interior secretary of state, denied receiving a letter of resignation from Chhien.
“I have not seen a proposal [for Chhien’s resignation] yet,” Setha said yesterday. “Now there is no official removal.”
Ra yesterday also alleged that in a council meeting a couple months ago, Chhien told members he had borrowed an unknown amount of money from private companies for purposes of which he failed to disclose, only answering the money was for “provincial missions”.
Chhien could not be reached for comment yesterday. Current Pailin Governor Koeut Sothea declined to comment, saying he must look into the allegations first.
ACU officials have not begun an investigation into claims against Chhien because a request for one has not yet been filed, said ACU president Om Yentieng.
Chhien fought with the Khmer Rouge against Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government until rebel forces in his area merged with it in 1996.