The former right-hand man of disgraced Phnom Penh Municipal Court president Ang Maltey, convicted on Friday of meddling in a court investigation, has been slapped with a new charge that could extend his stay behind bars.
Pich Prumhmony, 55, was due to be released from prison on December 19 after receiving a largely suspended sentence on Friday for “unlawful interference in the discharge of public functions”.
But his lawyer, Peng Sideth, said Prumhmony has now been charged by the municipal court prosecutor with “passive trading in influence” for allegedly accepting a gift from the lawyer of Keo Sary – the mother of jailed tycoon Thong Sarath – who has been imprisoned for possession of illegal firearms.
The charge carries a jail sentence of five to 10 years.
Sideth yesterday insisted that Prumhmony was innocent, arguing that there was “no evidence at all” to support the latest charge.
“That lawyer invited my client to dinner at a restaurant in Phnom Penh during Chinese New Year and she gave my client a bottle of wine as a gift, but it did not have any money in it, so my client accepted it,” he said.
Municipal court prosecutor Ly Sophana would not confirm the new charge. “This may affect the process of the investigation, so I do not want to [reveal] anything,” he said. “If you got the information from the lawyer, why not ask him more?”
Judge Tob Chhunlong, who Sideth said is currently investigating the case, could not be reached for comment.