Military Officer’s Company Fined $200,000 for Digging Dirt Without License

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Dirt and sand are often used to fill water bodies or land before construction can begin. (STT)

A military officer’s development company has been fined about $200,000 for extracting red dirt in Kampot province without a licence, in what a Mines and Energy Ministry spokesperson said was the only major fine imposed by the ministry this year.

“So far this year, it is only him who has received a big fine, while other cases have been small things,” Yos Mony Rath said on Friday. “We have instructed and handed them small fines.”

However, Mony Rath said he had yet to receive a report that the fine was paid.

According to a ministry letter dated June 29, a working group began an investigation in January about a dirt-digging operation in Kampong Trach district’s Kampong Trach Khang Lech commune.

A company was found to have excavated more than 50,000 cubic meters of red dirt from the Phnom Thkov area in Koh Pdao village without a license, violating the Mineral Resource Management Law, the letter says.

The value of the dirt was estimated at around 400 million riel, around $100,000, and the fine was calculated at twice that value.

The letter names the company as the Phnom Thkov Development Company, owned by air force officer Eng Oun, stationed at Sihanoukville’s Kang Keng Base. The company is allowed 15 days to protest the fine, it says.

Kampong provincial administration head Vuth Vathana said he didn’t know about the case. The company could not be found on the Commerce Ministry’s companies register.

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