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Phnom Penh court reopens embezzlement case

Phnom Penh court reopens embezzlement case

130207 04
Former Phnom Penh Municipal Court clerk Kruoch Borath (in hat) arrives at the court for his hearing last month. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Former Phnom Penh Municipal Court clerk Kruoch Borath (in hat) arrives at the court for his hearing last month. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Phnom Penh Municipal Court, acquiescing to a request from the defence made last month, has ordered a reinvestigation of the case against former court clerk Krouch Borath, who stands accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars of the court’s money.

Borath, 45 – who was tried in mid-January at the Phnom Penh court, his former workplace – was charged with stealing, over the course of six payments, the $250,000 settlement in a civil case in 2011, but testified at his trial last month that five of those six payments had ended up in the hands of his superior, judge Ke Sakhorn.

“I have decided to order more investigations into [Borath’s] receiving the five monetary payments, and to interrogate [people] on the orders that were signed by judge Ke Sakhorn, and to summons some witnesses to be questioned more and to continue to detain the suspect,” presiding judge Sin Visal said at yesterday’s hearing, at which Borath was not present.

Borath was arrested at a nightclub in October 2012 after Sakhorn, formerly a judge in Phnom Penh, but now transferred to Takeo province, filed a complaint accusing him of stealing the money.

At his hearing in January, Borath said that he had received a total of $250,000 over six payments, but had only kept the first payment of $75,000, which he used to lend out at interest.

The other $175,000, he maintained, he had given to Sakhorn. Borath said that from the second payment on, all the money was passed to Sakhorn, who signed all of the documents ordering the withdrawal of the money from the court account.

Sakhorn could not be reached for comment yesterday but said in January that he had never received any money from Borath and that he suspected Borath had spent the money on a house and land in Preah Sihanouk province.

He added he had never seen the money and maintained all of the orders were printed with a seal that he had stopped using. He also demanded $500,000 in damages from Borath for defamation.

Chung Ling Heng, lawyer in the 2011 case in question and a witness at the original trial, said in January that he had dealt only with Borath, but that all the documents bore the signature of Sakhorn.

 

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Sarom at [email protected]
 

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