Residents Demand District Governor’s Removal for Selling Land, ‘Attitude’

3 min read
Cholkiri district governor Hay Monorom in a photo posted to his Facebook in 2019.

A petition with more than 900 thumbprints demands the removal of a district governor in Kampong Chhnang province, as residents accuse him of selling state land for his own benefit and using inappropriate words against others.

The petition, dated July 12, said Cholkiri district governor Hay Monorom “behaved badly,” acting as if he were a big and powerful person and using inappropriate words against village officials and residents.

The governor did not care about the impact of his actions on the people and public property, the letter reads.

Neither Monorom nor Kampong Chhnang provincial governor Sun Sovannarith could be reached for comment on Thursday. VOD is continuing to reach out to Monorom, and will update this article if he responds.

Leng Lom, a resident of Prey Kri commune in Cholkiri, said locals decided to write the letter because they were not satisfied with the attitude and leadership of the district governor.

Monorom was involved in falsifying documents to sell state land, including a lake and canals, to private interests, Lom alleged. The governor also demanded money to process paperwork for villagers, he said.

The governor had in the past also shut down the community’s irrigation system, Lom said.

“He has a lot of issues. He conspired with his officials to sell forest land in the Bei area. That’s why people seem to not want to keep him any longer,” Lom said.

“He came to work at the district hall, but when he finished work he went to sleep in Kampong Cham province. He did not dare to sleep in this district, because he was afraid of his own people. He knew that the people did not like his leadership,” he added.

Buor Soben, a deputy village chief in Prey Kri who joined the petition, said Monorom behaved badly, causing difficulties and disrespecting lower-level officials.

Monorom worked for the benefit of himself and his associates, not for the benefit of the public, Soben said. The governor always blamed commune officials, and told them they have no right to do or decide anything, he said. The petition had 919 thumbprints, he added.

“If we keep this governor, the people will face even more difficulties. It is difficult not only for the people, it is difficult for me also as an official who works under him,” Soben said.

“If he still stays, it will affect CPP votes. … If he follows the samdech’s words, it will be really good, but I do not know why he did not listen at all,” he said, referring to an honorific used by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “The samdech appeals again and again that we serve the people, but he behaves as the boss of the people.”

Prey Kri commune chief Vann Yoeun said development projects in the district had caused dissatisfaction among the people.

Monorom had allowed a private company to dig up a canal being used by the community in order to take its soil, Yoeun said. The governor sold land to the company, whose trucks damaged roads in the community, he said.

The district governor now had a plan to develop land being used as a community carpark, and residents were concerned that Monorom would simply sell the plot or cause other problems, Yoeun said.

“Frankly, it is very difficult. Previously, developments have affected some people. But he also has done a lot in this district. Some of the villagers are also happy,” Yoeun said. The district governor also had a habit of blaming officials and sometimes slapping tables during meetings, he added.

Last year in Mondulkiri province, a district governor was transferred from his position over alleged involvement in illegally selling state land. A senator and eight other local officials were also identified in the probe.

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