Mondolkiri provincial governor Thong Savon told district governors and commune chiefs in the province to take all possible measures to prevent the unauthorised splitting of plots of land for sale and illegal construction.
Savon said the problems included splitting plots of land up for sale without transfer of rights and without making a legal plan to separate the plots of land for separate ownership by the various buyers, selling them without proper land titles to unwitting buyers, not obtaining permission from the local authorities and non-compliance with land use plans or urban planning regulations.
“[Our] province is currently developing and growing economically, especially in the fields of land and construction. Along with this process there are serious challenges surrounding the exploitation of land by splitting lots for sale or construction without a proper permit,” he said in an instruction dated March 3.
“Authorities should disseminate information [on this issue] and provide clear guidance to those who wish to split plots of land for sale or sell the rights to build on their plots or rent them out or do anything at all with them,” he said.
Savon pointed out that those involved must request permission before building or selling land plot.
To apply for a permit, the applicant must contact the One Window Service Office and the provincial administration or the provincial Department of Land Management, Urban Planning, Construction and Cadastral Affairs or the unit within the jurisdiction of the ministry, province or district according to the actual situation at hand to get the necessary information for the permit application.
The application must include the legal documents that allow the subdivision of the lot for sale or construction on that specific plot of land. The seller must also provide their buyers with a copy of the original legal letter of permission to split the lot for sale or for construction on the land along with the certificate of ownership of the property, title and other important documents.
“In the cases of land and construction with developers committing the above offences or by green light from authorities or relevant units involved in a conspiracy to get around the legal requirements, there will be fines or penalties in accordance with the law in force,” he said.
Provincial indigenous community representative Kreung Tola said he supported Savon’s order as a necessary measure to protect state land and housing rights.
He said Mondulkiri is currently seeing an increase in the activity of splitting lots for sale, though he said he did not know whether the sales were legal because they were under the control of the authorities.
“This is all related to systemic corruption … Meaning that those who dare to commit these illegal acts are doing so because they have the backing of rich people and have powerful people supporting them or they have signatures already from the village and commune authorities. Otherwise, no one would dare to buy and sell land in such an anarchic fashion,” he said.