AN opposition Sam Rainsy Party councillor who taped a ruling Cambodian People’s Party member attempting to buy his senate vote has been summoned to court to answer charges that he illegally recorded the man’s voice.
On Monday, the SRP circulated a recording in which CPP member Cheam Pe A offered Mok Ra, Tuol Ta Ek commune councillor in Battambang town, US$700 to vote for his party’s candidate in senate elections on Sunday.
The SRP subsequently filed a complaint with the Battambang Provincial Commission against Cheam Pe A, who has now filed a lawsuit against Mok Ra.
Battambang provincial prosecutor Nuon San said yesterday that he had summoned Mok Ra to answer accusations he had breached article 301 of the penal code – which forbids recording another person without their consent.
“We summoned him to appear in court after the senate election. It may be on [February] 2. We just summoned him for questioning first,” Nuon San said.
Mok Ra said he had done nothing wrong but would appear for questioning, fearing he would be accused of evading the law otherwise.
“I recorded his voice, I wanted to know his about his bad activity,” Mok Ra said.
Cheam Pe A directed questions to his lawyer, Ham Mony, who said he filed a complaint against Mok Ra because he had not obtained the consent of his client before recording their conversation.
“He does not have any authorisation to record someone’s voice if there was no agreement,” Ham Mony said.
SRP spokesman Yim Sovann said the lawsuit demonstrated that the National Election Committee was simply a political tool of the ruling party.
“It is a laughable story – the thief acquitted, the owner jailed. If you do not do anything bad, there would not be anyone recording you,” he said, adding that recording Cheam Pe A was the only way the SRP could provide evidence of vote-rigging to the NEC.
If found guilty, Mok Ra faces a jail sentence of up to one year.
Battambang Provincial Election Committee president Vorn Porn said the two sides had been summonsed to a hearing today after an attempted conciliation between them failed yesterday.