A representative of Bonna Realty Group said yesterday that the arrest of the company’s eponymous chairman on Friday on fraud charges stemming from a bounced cheque would have no impact on the business because it was purely a personal matter.
Real estate mogul Sung Bonna was taken into custody on Friday morning and summarily charged with issuing a cheque to wealthy businessman Keo Hun without having adequate funds to cover it.
While local media reported that the cheque was to pay back a $400,000 debt, Ly Sophanna, a spokesman for Phnom Penh Municipal Court, could not confirm yesterday the exact amount that Bonna was being charged for.
Bonna is currently being held in minimum-security Police Judiciary Prison and will come before investigating judge Long Kesphirum, according to Sophanna.
Sung Sina, Bonna’s brother and head of the appraisal department at Bonna Realty, insisted that the case did not involve the company’s business operations as the cheque was issued from a personal account.
“Our business transactions are operating as normal,” Sina said. “The case is just a personal issue.”
He maintained that the company had a strong management committee, and that Bonna was only a member of the board.
“There are no concerns with our company as Bonna has not been involved with [day-to-day] business operations since 2012,” he said.
Ministry of Commerce records confirm that Bonna’s role and shareholding in Bonna Realty diminished in December 2012 when the company restructured from a sole proprietorship into a private limited company.
“Even if we do not have Bonna, we still have two other shareholders and there will not be any impact to our company’s finances,” said Sina.
Kim Heang, president of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA), expressed support for Bonna, who he said had run an outstanding real estate company for almost 20 years.
He said even if reports that Bonna had borrowed $400,000 were true, this should not raise concern about the company’s solvency as it was typical for businessmen to borrow from wealthy individuals.
“This amount is not a big deal as almost 90 per cent of businesses in Cambodia owe money,” he said. “The problem is the lender seems to be taking it more serious in the case of Bonna.”
While he doubted that the arrest would change day-to-day operations of the company, the case could tarnish its name.
“Business will run as normal, but it will impact the reputation of the company,” he warned.