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Seang Chet, a commune chief for the Sam Rainsy Party, leaves the Phnom Penh Appeal Court after a hearing in July.
Seang Chet, a commune chief for the Sam Rainsy Party, leaves the Phnom Penh Appeal Court after a hearing in July. Pha Lina

Chief testifies in ‘sex scandal’ bribery case

Sam Rainsy Party commune chief Seang Chet on Friday denied bribing Khom Chandaraty – opposition leader Kem Sokha’s alleged mistress – saying he was only handing over a donation from supporters abroad given to him by party lawmaker Mao Monyvann.

The Kampong Cham resident has been in pre-trial detention since April on allegations of bribing hairdresser Chandaraty – absent from Friday’s hearing – to deny her alleged affair with the CNRP’s acting president.

Hem Socheat, Chet’s lawyer, said his client continued to maintain that the money was given to Chandaraty’s mother, Seang Lon, to help support the family during her daughter’s involvement in the Sokha investigations.

“Mao Monyvann received the money from abroad,” Socheat said. “They wanted to give it to the mother because they thought that she was old and her daughter did not have a job.”

According to Socheat, Chet told the court he conveyed five instructions – including to take a lawyer while appearing for questioning at the Interior Ministry, and to avoid speaking to the media – to Chandaraty’s sister-in-law, Nou Sotheara, but never asked Chandaraty to lie.

He added that they had requested that Chandaraty, Lon and Sotheara be summonsed as witnesses in Chet’s case. Only Lon received the summons, and did not come.

Yesterday, Monyvann confirmed he had given Chet money collected from supporters in New Zealand, but maintained that it was only “charity money” for Chandaraty’s family.

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