Below is an excerpt from a paper written by R. Schuyler House and Andrew Billo regarding Boeung Kak Lake. As you can read, the problem illustrated by the eviction of Boeung Kak Lake residents reveals the existence of a strong collusion between politics and business in Cambodia. Having an “absolute power”- disguised under the appearance of fake democracy, the Cambodian current ruling class can freely make any “legal sleight of hand” to legalize the transfer of the “State public property” and the “confiscation of private property” to “private companies” which are created just to plunder Khmer people property and the country resources for their clans and their own interests.
It is time now to halt this systemic corruption which is widespread as a whole State system for more than 30 years. Khmer people hold a certain power to change for a Cambodia that is honest, transparent, fairly prosperous, independent and respectful of laws.----------Chers tous,
Ci-dessous un extrait d’un document écrit par Schuyler House and Andrew Billo au sujet des tenants et aboutissants de l’affaire du Lac Boeung Kork. Comme vous pourrez le lire, le problème illustré par l’éviction des habitants du Lac Boeung Kork révèle bien l’existence d’une très forte collusion entre le monde politique et le milieu des affaires au Cambodge. Détenant un pouvoir absolu sous couvert d’une démocratie en apparence, le parti politique actuel au pouvoir peut faire des tours de passe-passe juridiques comme bon leur semble pour légaliser le transfert des actifs publics et la confiscation des biens privés aux sociétés privées qui sont créées juste pour piller propriété privée et les ressources du pays à des fins personnelles et de clans.
Il est temps que cette corruption systémique érigée depuis plus de 30 ans en système d’Etat s’arrête. Le peuple khmer détient un certain pouvoir de changer pour un Cambodge juste, transparent, prospère équitablement, indépendant et respectueux des droits.
Excerpt from “Cambodia’s Land Reform and Boeung Kak Lake: Institutions, Politics, and Development”, National University of Singapore, 2011.
This case has been written by R. Schuyler House and Andrew Billo, under the guidance of Terasita Cruz-del Rosario, Visiting Associate Professor, at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.
In 2007, the Cambodian government had leased 133 hectares of land surrounding Boeung Kak Lake, an area subject to high uncertainty over land rights, to Shukaku, Inc., a Cambodian real estate and development company with known ties to senior government officials.
In early 2007, while WB staff and residents attempted to resolve the ongoing dispute, the Phnom Penh municipality announced that they had entered into a $79 million 99-year lease for 133 hectares with a private firm, Shukaku, Inc, which intended to build the ‘New East City’ high-end condominium project at the site. Shukaku was owned by Yeay Phu, the wife of Senator Lao Meng Khin, a senior member of the CPP, a close ally to Prime Minister Hun Sen, and a director of Pheapimex, a logging conglomerate repeatedly accused of corruption activity and environmental degradation. It was later discovered that a 2005 letter preceding the official 2006 adjudication had been sent from the Council of Ministers to the Governor of Phnom Penh announcing the government’s approval to develop Boeung Kak area by the private company.
Perhaps in response to complaints about the illegality of the transaction due to Sub-decree 129, which states that leases of over 15 years cannot be granted for State public property, another Sub-decree was passed in 2008, well after the lease signing, to transfer the lake and its surrounding area from State public to State private property.
In October 2010, Shukaku had spoken publically for the first time since the project’s beginning. In a Phnom Penh Post article, Shukaku’s Lao Vann commented, “I cannot delay the development process at Boeung Kak lake…Our company is just a firm which received the rights from the government and from municipal authorities to invest in the Boeung Kak lake area, so if you have any questions please ask the government.”
The Boeung Kak Lake project had become symbolic of Cambodia’s corruption problems….