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Chea Sim aide back in court

Chea Sim aide back in court

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Hong Menea/ Phnom Penh Post
Pheng Kunthea Borey leaves Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday

Cambodian Senate President Chea Sim’s disgraced former adviser has been sent back to Phnom Penh Municipal Court, this time for questioning in a civil case related to projects for which she has been convicted of fraud, her defence lawyer said yesterday.

Pheng Kunthea Borey’s defense lawyer, Muong Sokun, told the Post that the former high-profile socialite is the subject of a civil complaint by a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces officer involved in the construction of the Samdech Chea Sim Hospital.

The hospital is one of five humanitarian projects for which Pheng Kunthea Borey and four others have been convicted of committing fraud and extorting hundreds of millions of dollars from investors.

“She is being sued by Mr Bun Sam Ath over not paying nearly US$100,000 of his fees from the construction of roads and fences at the Samdech Chea Sim Hospital in Phnom Penh,” Muong Sokun confirmed yesterday.

One of the other convicted advisors to Chea Sim, Ponlok Ho, has told the Post the Samdech Chea Sim Hospital project is worth more than $55 million.

A prison guard speaking on condition of anonymity yesterday at Prey Sar prison, where Pheng Kunthea Borey is being held, told the Post she had been send for questioning by an investigating judge over the debt complaint.

“The investigating judge questioned her for over two hours, then she was returned to prison after completion of questioning,” he said.

Kor Vandy, deputy president of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, could not reach for comment yesterday.

Pheng Kunthea Borey and complainant Bun Sam Ath and his lawyer were also unable to be reached for comment yesterday.

This is the second civil complaint against Pheng Kunthea Borey over failure to pay for construction work.

The Post reported last month that Chhum Vandy had an outstanding complaint against Pheng Kunthea Borey for her failure to pay his construction work fees since 2006.

On December 27, 2011, Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted 56-year-old Pheng Kunthea Borey, former Chea Sim advisers Chan Kosal and Ponlork Ho, and Pheng Kunthea Borey’s personal assistant, Khieu Bora, to between three and four years in prison for fooling investors and extorting money from them. The court also convicted Malaysian national Joe Harry Mahady, also known as Dino, in absentia.

The four Cambodians claim they are innocent of all wrongdoing and that they were tricked by Dino.

Muong Sokun said that his client, Pheng Kunthea Borey, had appealed against her verdict to the Court of Appeal last week.

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