Kandal provincial court yesterday sentenced disgraced former Phnom Penh court president Ang Maltey to three years in prison – with one year of that suspended – for making personal use of an Audi SUV confiscated from a convicted drug dealer.
Deputy provincial court judge Nguon Vuthy convicted the former judge – sacked a year ago amid separate bribery allegations levelled by the prime minister – after downgrading his charges from embezzlement to “unlawful exploitation”, as was recommended by the case’s prosecutor during the trial last month.
Vuthy suspended a year of Maltey’s sentence and fined him about $1,250, noting his “confession” and that the Audi remained in a good condition.
“During the investigation, the accused confessed that he used the Audi car for his own safety and acknowledged that it was a mistake to use it, but he returned it back to Phnom Penh court and the Audi is not broken,” Vuthy said.
Maltey, who claimed during testimony that he drove the Audi because he needed to regularly switch cars for his protection, also acknowledged the car, confiscated from police officer-turned-drug dealer Thav Thavy, was not properly registered in the court’s evidence book, Vuthy said.
Clad in orange prison garb and a white surgical mask, Maltey, escorted into the court under heavy guard, remained silent as he was led from the building.
His defence lawyer, Tep Panha, offered little more in the way of a response.
“As the defence lawyer, I can’t speak for him on this. I will discuss with my client later if he wants to appeal or not,” Panha said.
In a statement read at the trial, Thavy admitted giving his Audi to Maltey to make bail, though that statement’s bribery implications appear to have been ignored.
The case against the drug dealer and his dealings with Maltey only resurfaced after the latter was sacked in February 2015 amid a suggestion by Hun Sen that the former judge took a hefty bribe to release the parents of Tong Sarath, a wealthy businessman accused of murder.
It appears Maltey will face no action over that case at all, as Anti-Corruption Unit director Om Yentieng said that though Maltey ordered the release of the pair – recaptured trying to flee abroad – blame mostly rested with Maltey’s aide, who, he claimed, pulled the strings.
Yentieng, who has been forced to deny close ties to Maltey, declined to comment yesterday.