Former anti-drug czar Moek Dara (second right) is escorted by police as he exits the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post
The Phnom Penh Court of Appeal yesterday continued to try Moek Dara and Chea Leng in the 19th, 21st, 23rd and 24th of 25 corruption cases, adding to the litany of fraudulent investigations and obstructions of justice already heard by the court, said presiding judge Chay Chandaravann.
According to Chandaravann, the 19th case related to a May 2007 raid in which Leng arrested a drug distributor, seizing two packages of methamphetamines and a car – along with a sizeable amount of money and jewellery – from the suspect.
“He released [the suspect]with approval from Moek Dara in exchange for bribes,” said the judge.
“He hid the seized drugs in order to destroy the proof, and had also kept the suspect’s seized car, money and jewellery for his own property.”
In the 24th case, Leng seized a package of crystal meth, seven packages of the painkiller Ketamine in powder form and 10 ecstasy tablets, and confiscated a suspect’s motorbike, Chandaravann said, only to release the suspect later after soliciting yet another bribe.
“In this case, Chea Leng also kept the seized drugs for his own use, and took the suspect’s motorbike for his own property,” he said.
Leng maintained that the court was using false witness statements to frame him, though he allowed that he had released certain suspects with the approval of Dara and prosecutors.
Dara, however, said that he had been unaware of Leng’s wrongdoing and had trusted his deputy.
The hearings in the last two criminal cases on appeal, which involve Dara and escaped accomplice Morn Doeun, will take place today.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at firstname.lastname@example.org