Prime Minister Hun Sen has ended the lawsuit against Candlelight Party adviser Kong Korm after the latter decided to return the home back to the state that he had been occupying since returning to Cambodia in 1984 after serving as ambassador to Vietnam.

“Finally, the house and land which belongs to the state have been returned to the state by Kong Korm and his wife as proofed by their thumbprints after the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) talked with Kong Korm and his family for three and a half hours.

“To avoid prolonging the issue, I decided to end the lawsuit at the point when the home is returned to the state next week,” he said.

The latest row between Hun Sen and Korm, who was once a member of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) in the 1980s and served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as an ambassador, came after Korm allegedly ‘slandered’ the CPP on January 7.

Following the incident, the Tbong Khmum provincial branch of the CPP filed a lawsuit with the provincial court seeking $500,000 in damages. The lawsuit claimed that Korm’s recent political messages were intended to incite the public and cause social insecurity, while Hun Sen called it slander.

Hun Sen also requested that the ACU look into irregularities involving Korm’s ownership of his house and land which previously belonged to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and take legal action against him.

The foreign affairs ministry also filed a lawsuit with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court along with the history of the land’s ownership on January 11, requesting the court clarify the ownership of the land and put the land under temporary protection. That lawsuit also sought $1 million in compensatory damages.

The ministry said Korm had lived in the house since the 1980s, but he had acquired a land title in 2015.

In his letter to ACU head Om Yentieng on January 12, Korm said he was at fault for changing the title of the house due to his lack of understanding of the procedures required to do so.

He said that to avoid wasting the ACU’s time investigating the matter, he and his wife decided to return the house to the state voluntarily.

The house in question is a 5,290 square meters villa in village 5 of Tonle Bassac commune in Chamkarmon district.

“I give my thumbprint to affirm my decision and that of my wife. I also thank ACU, the government and especially Prime Minister Hun Sen for his forgiveness of all of my faults,” Korm said in his letter.