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Two charged in corruption bust

The Pursat Provincial Court on Saturday charged a pair of provincial Ministry of Social Affairs officials accused of taking bribes from the families of deceased veterans in return for releasing their military benefits, the Anti-Corruption Unit said yesterday.

ACU deputy president Kheang Seng said Social Affairs bureau chief Yim Deth and department officer Kong Visal were arrested last Thursday and Friday, respectively, and charged under penal code articles 592 and 593 for allegedly skimming off a total of 750,000 riel (almost $200) from payments intended for four families.

Another social affairs official was also detained, but later released when he was found not to be involved in the alleged corruption, Seng added.“Evidence against him could not be found, so the prosecutor has decided to release Kong Bunthan without sending him to court. The court has only detained Yim Deth and Kong Visal,” he said.

According to Seng, the four victims were each entitled to payments of four million riel, but in order to collect the payments, each was allegedly required to pay 200,000 riel to Deth and Visal. One of the four families, however, only paid 150,000, bringing the total paid to the two officials to 750,000, he said.

“In the interrogation minutes, they admitted their guilt,” Seng said.

Under article 593, if the two are found guilty, they can be sentenced to anywhere from two to five years’ imprisonment, and fined four to 10 million riel.

Spokesmen for the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of National Defence could not be reached for comment.

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