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Government adviser probed

A top adviser to the government has been summoned for questioning by police on allegations that he cheated another businessman out of $800,000, police said yesterday.

The Ministry of Interior’s Penal Police issued the summons, which contains allegations that Senate adviser Hak Sovann, 45, defrauded business associate Cheav Tola out of $807,750 last week while promising to sell Tola an economic land concession (ELC) in Kampot province. Sovann, who is thought to act as a broker on land deals between businesses and government officials, is being sued by Tola over the allegedly dodgy deal, police said.

“He [Sovann] was sued by the plaintiff, Cheav Tola, for fraud over taking his money, more than $800,000, in seeking the land concession in Kampot province. But he was not given the concession and did not return the money back to [Tola],” said Major General In Bora, chief of the Penal Police Department at the Ministry of Interior.

“I have summonsed him [Sovann] to appear at the Penal Police Department and asked him to explain to us about this accusation [today],” Bora added.

Sovann and his defence lawyer could not be reached for comment yesterday.

It was unclear whether Tola expected to receive the rights to run the ELC despite a government moratorium on new concessions in effect since last May.

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