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Court slaps SRP with fine for late report

The Phnom Penh Municipal court has fined the opposition Sam Rainsy Party for failing to submit its 2006 annual report on time, a decision the SRP blasted as politically motivated.

Judge Suos Sam Ath said the SRP had been found in violation of articles 34 and 38 of the Kingdom’s Law on Elections, which state that political parties must submit their annual reports to the Ministry of Interior before the end of December each year or face a fine.

The Interior Ministry filed complaints against 16 political parties for missing the deadline, though six, including government coalition partner Funcinpec, were absolved after sending apology notes to the ministry.

Four parties were struck from the ministry’s register of parties, three were suspended temporarily and fined six million riel (US$1,462), and three parties – the SRP and two smaller parties, the Khmer Citizen Party and the Moha Nokor Party – were fined three million riel ($731).

Meas Sarim, deputy director general of the Interior Ministry’s general department of local administration, who filed the complaint to the court, said the decision represented justice for his ministry.

“We must accept this decision because it is the court’s authority,” he said.

SRP spokesman Yim Sovann, however, dismissed the ruling as unreasonable and politically motivated.

“Cambodian courts belong to the Cambodian People’s Party, so they made this decision unjustly,” he said.

“We already sent this report and it was received already, but they still decided like this.”

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