The auditor who submitted a report used to convict a husband and wife of embezzling tens of millions of dollars from a company owned by the wife of a tycoon senator admitted yesterday that the quality of his audit was “poor”.
“My report was just four pages,” Kak Key, head of Morrison Kak and Associates, said, adding that the first page was a cover page. He admitted submitting “a very poor report to the judge” at Phnom Penh Municipal Court last year, saying a thorough audit would have been at least 20 pages.
The report was used to convict a university rector and her husband of breach of trust after it found that between 2001 and 2010 more than US$58 million had been transferred into their joint account from one used by Anco brothers company owner Sok Im, the second wife of Kok An, a casino owner and senator in the ruling Cambodia People’s Party.
Anco Brothers distributes Budweiser beer, Evian water and British American Tobacco products in Cambodia.
“I recognise that a real [audit] should be long and painstaking work,” Kak Key said, stressing that the brevity of his was the result of the defence team’s refusal to cooperate and that he had advised the presiding judge that his audit was “one-sided”.
“One thing I am sure of,” he continued, “is that this case cannot happen in a country other than Cambodia.”
Tep Kolap, the former rector of Phnom Penh International University, and her husband, Heng Chheang, former treasurer of Anco Brothers, were convicted on December 7 of breach of trust and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison each.
Their appeal was heard by Judge Plang Samnang on March 1 and 2 and the verdict is scheduled to be handed down on Monday.
Kak Key said it was likely that the new evidence introduced by the defence, primarily banking records that show more than $62 million flowing from the defendants’ joint account to the account registered in Heng Chheang and Sok Im’s names, would not be enough to gain their release.
“Kok An is very determined not to let them out of prison,” Kak Key said, adding that it was likely the judge would order a “counter examination of the new evidence” and that this could take two or three years.
He also rebutted defence accusations that he was biased because Kok An paid him $12,000 to conduct the audit.
Kak Key cast doubt on evidence introduced by the defence, saying some of the money transferred from the Heng Chheng-Tep Kolap account to the Heng Chheng-Sok Im account came from Kok An’s first wife, whom he referred to as Sok Im’s sister.
Anco Brothers did not have a corporate account and conducted business through the account registered in Sok Im and Heng Chheang’s name.
Kok An’s lawyers Long Dara and Chea Sokchan declined to comment to the Post.