More than 40 Funcinpec deputy provincial governors have been removed from their posts since last week, as promised last month by Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bun Chhay, officials said on Tuesday.
The removals include the brother of Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh’s mistress Ouk Phalla, Koh Kong Deputy Governor Sisowath Vireakcheat, who confirmed that he was removed from his post on April 25.
“It was a universal removal of deputy governors. It is not only me,” Sisowath Vireakcheat said.
He denied that he was removed because of his sister’s relationship of several years with Prince Ranariddh, with whom she has a son. He added that he plans to attend a six-month training course at the Royal School of Administration in Phnom Penh.
Nhiek Bun Chhay announced last month that 43 royalist party deputy governors would be removed from their positions following the Khmer New Year because they were unqualified.
Those removed would be sent on a six-month training course paid for by the government, he said.
Nhiek Bun Chhay said on Tuesday that he didn’t know when the course for his party’s fired officials would begin.
Funcinpec’s former Kompong Thom deputy provincial governor Ung Chhay said by telephone that he didn’t know why he was removed, as he had the ability to perform his job and holds a master’s degree in finance.
“I understand that my removal was part of the government’s reform, but I don’t know other details than that,” he said.
You Hockry, National Assembly second deputy president and member of a Funcinpec committee to select deputy governor replacements, said the committee has suggested 12 deputy governor candidates to Prince Ranariddh.
You Hockry said he didn’t know whether the prince had appointed any of the nominees.
Nhiek Bun Chhay said Prince Ranariddh remains out of the country and has set no date set to return.
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