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‘I did not interfere’, general tells court

The brigadier general charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court with pressuring judicial officials while an aide to ousted court president Ang Maltey maintained his innocence yesterday after being brought in for questioning.

Pheng Sideth, a defence lawyer for suspect Pich Prumhmony, said his client was questioned by investigating judge Long Kesphirum over his charges of unlawful interference with the performance of public functions, and the unauthorised use of a vehicle with military or police licence plates.

Speaking to the Post, Prumhmony maintained his innocence yesterday, saying he “refuted the allegations of the court”.

“I came to work at this municipal court as a personal bodyguard of Mr Ang Maltey, and with proper documents. I did not interfere with or impede the work of prosecutors, judges or clerks,” he said. “What I did at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court was based on Mr Ang Maltey’s orders.”

Court officials, speaking anonymously, have accused Prumhmony of taking bribes on behalf of Maltey, including one in relation to the release on bail of the parents of fugitive tycoon Thong Sarath. Sarath’s parents were later arrested en route to Vietnam.

Prumhmony said yesterday he had nothing to do with the case. As for the licence plate charge, he maintained the plate was already on an impounded car that Maltey had given him permission to use.

Kesphirum could not be reached today, but a court clerk said the judge had concluded his questioning.

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