Of­fi­cials un­cer­tain of di­rec­tive on fund­ing

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Ben Sokhean

IN­TE­RIOR Min­istry of­fi­cials were un­sure yes­ter­day about the le­gal­ity of a Wed­nes­day di­rec­tive in­struct­ing com­mune chiefs to only use state al­lo­cated funds for the up­keep of com­mune halls, which co­in­cided with min­istry spokesman Khieu Sopheak threat­en­ing the ar­rest of a Bat­tam­bang chief for us­ing her own funds to run the of­fice.

On Wed­nes­day, Sopheak made a thinly veiled threat to ar­rest O’Char Com­mune Chief Sin Rozeth for us­ing her own funds to main­tain the com­mune hall and for de­pict­ing projects us­ing out­side funds as Cam­bo­dia Na­tional Res­cue Party achieve­ments.

“Both leader and fol­lower will go to jail,” he said Wed­nes­day, re­fer­ring to the de­ten­tion of CNRP President Kem Sokha.

Yes­ter­day, Ch­han Chan Sopheak, an of­fi­cial at the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion De­part­ment of the min­istry, said In­te­rior Min­is­ter Sar Kheng’s Wed­nes­day let­ter was a new in­struc­tion from the gov­ern­ment but could not point to any law that could val­i­date Sopheak’s threat.

“For this thing, I can­not an­swer you be­cause it is very deep, it in­volves tech­ni­cal­i­ties,” he said.

Tao Sok Mara, a spokes­woman for the In­te­rior Min­istry’s Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion De­part­ment, con­firmed her de­part­ment is­sued the let­ter, but she did not un­der­stand its legal ba­sis and re­ferred ques­tions to the spokesman, who could not be reached yes­ter­day.

The Law on Com­mune/Sangkat Ad­min­is­tra­tive Man­age­ment stip­u­lates that com­mune chiefs are ex­pected to use state al­lo­cated bud­gets for de­vel­op­ment ac­tiv­i­ties, but does not pro­hibit ac­cept­ing do­na­tions and pri­vate con­tri­bu­tions – an act rou­tinely used by the rul­ing Cam­bo­dian Peo­ple’s Party.

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