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Court clerk’s day in court proves pricey

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Former Phnom Penh Municipal Court clerk Kruoch Borath arrives at court for his hearing, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Former Phnom Penh Municipal Court clerk Kruoch Borath appeared at his former workplace yesterday to face accusations of embezzling a $250,000 settlement in a 2011 civil case.

Borath told the court he had received a total of $250,000 over the course of six payments, but had kept only the first payment of $75,000, which he used as capital to lend out and earn interest.

The rest of the money, he said, was passed to court deputy president Ke Sakhan.

“Judge Ke Sakhan signed all the letters with the amounts of money on them, [saying] to put [the money] in the court’s bank account. He also ordered me to put the $75,000 I took in the bank, but I did not comply, and used that money for my personal benefit.”

Borath, 45, was arrested by police from the Ministry of Interior on October 29 last year at a club in Chamkarmon district after the court’s issuance of an arrest warrant accusing him of breach of trust and faking public documents.

Ke Sakhan, now a judge at the Takeo Provincial Court and also a plaintiff in the case, said he had never received any money from Borath and that the ex-clerk had used the money in question to buy a house and farm in Preah Sihanouk.

“I never saw the money. I did not sign or stamp those letters,” he said, demanding $500,000 in damages from Boroth for slander.

The $250,000 was originally intended to pay a court-ordered settlement in a case that took place in 2010 and 2011, Chung Lingheng, a lawyer who represented the party that was required to pay the money, said.

Lingheng said he had made the six payments to Boroth, with each one bearing the signature of Judge Sakhan.

Boroth’s defence, citing irregularities in the case, requested a re-investigation.

Presiding Judge Sin Visal said that in any event, either the verdict or a ruling on the re-investigation would be announced on February 6. 

 

To contact the reporter on this story: Lieng Sarith at sarith.lieng@phnompenhpost.com
 

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