The military general who acted as an aide to disgraced former Phnom Penh Municipal Court president Ang Maltey was laid with two charges yesterday at the same court where he allegedly helped Maltey secure bribes and heap pressure on judges and prosecutors.
Brigadier-General Pich Prumhmony, a deputy chief of staff at the Defence Ministry’s army headquarters who was arrested Thursday evening in Takeo province, was laid yesterday with preliminary charges of unlawful interference with the performance of public functions and using a vehicle with military and police licence plates without permission.
Chief court clerk Prak Savuth confirmed the charges and said Prumhmony is continuing to be questioned by an investigating judge. He declined to provide further details.
Court sources that requested anonymity have told Post Weekend that Prumhmony personally appropriated a Hummer from a convicted drug dealer with military plates during his time at the court and acted as Maltey’s right-hand man.
A deputy prosecutor without permission to speak to the media said it was likely he would soon be laid with more charges related to activities as part of that role, including alleged bribe-taking connected to the release of fugitive tycoon Thong Sarath’s parents on bail earlier this month.
“He is also suspected of having obtained bribes in relation to his work with Mr Ang Maltey which led to the release of Thong Chamroeun and Keo Sary from Prey Sar Prison, as well as other cases,” the prosecutor said.
“After completing the investigation, if the court finds that he was involved with those cases, he will face more charges.”
On Tuesday, Maltey was removed from his position as head of the capital’s court after Prime Minister Hun Sen lambasted the decision to release Chamroeun and Sary – who were caught trying to flee to Vietnam on Sunday – on bail, suggesting it was the result of corruption within the court.
Numerous senior court officials could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Military police spokesman Kheng Tito said that the authorities were yet to receive a warrant authorising Maltey’s arrest.
“However, if we receive it, we will take action,” he said.
Court officials say that Maltey is close to powerful Anti-Corruption Unit chief Om Yentieng.
ACU deputy chief Kheang Seng confirmed yesterday that Yentieng went to visit Sarath’s parents Chamroeun and Sary on Thursday afternoon in Prey Sar prison but said he did not know what he talked to them about.
Yentieng hung up when a reporter identified himself yesterday.
Thong Sarath, who is believed to be hiding in Vietnam, released another video clip on Facebook yesterday denying that was responsible for the slaying of businessman Ung Meng Cheu in November.
“I still believe in the legal system in the country … I hope that the court will find the truth and justice for me,” he said.