>Prince Ranariddh’s Million-Dollar Mansion Confiscated

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Rasmei Kampuchea Daily
10th May 2008
Translated by Khmerization

The Norodom Ranariddh Party (NRP) on the 9th of May has raised the issue related to the confiscation of his million-dollar mansion by accusing Nhiek Bunchhay of asking for the transfer of ownership of the mansion to sell and sharing the proceeds with other officials.
In a statement released on the 9th of May, the NRP has criticised the Council of Ministers and Nhiek Bunchhay as well as the court for conspiring to confiscate the Prince Ranariddh’s mansion.
The NRP said that the District Court had decided on the 17th of July 2007 by ordering Prince Ranariddh (pictured) to transfer the ownership of the mansion to Nhiek Bunchhay but the prince’s lawyer lodged an application of appeal against the District Court’s decision.
While the appeal has not been heard yet, the Council of Ministers has conspired with Nhiek Bunchay and issued a letter of directive No. 1028 dated 23rd July 2007 ordering the confiscation of the mansion to give to Nhiek Bunchhay to sell so the proceeds can be shared among other officials.
According to the NRP, the price had official title of ownership issued by sub-decree no. 25 with the certificate of ownership no. PP 27633 dated 15th June 2005, officially signed by Mr. Kep Chutema, Governor of Phnom Penh.
The NRP said that Prince Ranariddh was not against the confiscation of the mansion, if it was confiscated for public interests. But he is against the confiscation because it was done with the conspiracy between the government and Nhiek Bunchhay.
Mr. Liv Sovanna, Prince Ranariddh’s lawyer, said that the prince’s mansion is situated at no. 32 Sisowath St., Chey Chumneas commune, Daun Penh district, Phnom Penh.
According to the prince’s lawyer, when the prince was made aware of the confiscation of his mansion, it has been sold and re-sold twice already. So he asked his lawyer to lodge the application of injunction to stop it from being re-sold again. However, when the prince’s lawyer lodged the application of injunction, the court has immediately dismissed the application using the reasons that the prince did not live at the mansion and also the title of ownership has been cancelled by a Letter of Directive and the ownership was transferred into Nhiek Bunchhay’s name.
Nhiek Bunchhay, Secretary-General of Funcinpec Party, denied any involvement with the transfer and sales of this mansion, saying: “I don’t know anything in relation to this matter.”
But another Funcinpec official said that Prince Ranariddh received the ownership of this mansion in his capacity as the chairman of the National Assembly. So, when he is no longer the chairman of the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers has the right to ask for the return of the mansion. This same official said that the mansion was not in the ownership of Nhiek Bunchhay, despite Nhiek Chhay had written a letter asking for the transfer of the mansion to his name. //
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