The Anti-Corruption Unit yesterday charged a Pursat provincial prosecutor who was arrested on Monday morning in the newly established body’s first high-profile case, officials said.
ACU spokesman Keo Remy said Top Chan Sereyvuth – who was arrested along with two personal bodyguards – was charged with corruption because he had abused his position of power.
“Two reasons made the Anti-Corruption Unit arrest this prosecutor; first, he did not respect and follow his position; and second, [he] is connected with corruption,” he said.
He said the ACU had been investigating the case for a “few months” after receiving complaints accusing the prosecutor of sending his personal bodyguards, rather than the police, to make arrests on his behalf, and then extorting money from prisoners in exchange for their release.
He said he did not know whether the two bodyguards had also been charged, but confirmed that all three suspects were being detained for further questioning.
He said Top Chan Sereyvuth’s fate would be decided by the courts.
The ACU has the power to arrest, question and charge a suspect, he says, but it is up to the courts to make a final judgement.
Nget Theavy, provincial Adhoc coordinator, said late yesterday that Top Chan Sereyvuth and the two bodyguards had all been charged at the provincial court
and sent to prison to serve pretrial detention.
“He and his bodyguards were charged with three cases, corruption, extortion and illegal detention,” she said.
She said there were “hundreds of people clapping” in support of the charges, both at the court and the prison.
“[It is] unbelievable that there are so many people who are happy to see this prosecutor punished through the law,” she said.
ACU head Om Yentieng, who reportedly led a team to make the arrests and has been involved in questioning the suspects, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Keo Remy appealed to anyone “who is doing corruption [or] who wishes to, please stop or abandon and change to [work] through the law”, warning that Top Chan Sereyvuth’s case was “not the first and last time” the ACU would act to fight corruption.
“We don’t stop this time. We are working hard to investigate over more cases,” he said.
“When we get a complaint, then we will investigate and collect the evidence to arrest someone who is connected with the corrupt act.”