A Mondulkiri provincial Forestry Administration (FA) official has launched a countersuit against a senior Adhoc officer in Phnom Penh who last year sued him for turning a blind eye to forestry and land-grabbing crimes.
Adhoc officer Pen Bonnar and some 70 villagers last year lodged lawsuits against more than 10 officials and prominent businesspeople in Kratie, Tbong Khmum, Kampot and Ratanakkiri provinces. Those who were sued were alleged to be engaging in land-grabbing and forest-clearing.
Mondulkiri provincial FA director Vong Sokserey, who was formerly held the same post in Ratanakkiri, was one of those sued. Sokserey yesterday confirmed he had sued Bonnar back but declined to comment further, only saying he had been questioned by the Ratanakkiri Provincial Court over Bonnar’s allegations.
“He sued many officials,” he said. “What proof does he have for suing us like this?”
Ratanakkiri Provincial Court director Suo Lar said yesterday he was unaware of Sokserey’s countersuit. Provincial prosecutor Liv Sreng and court spokesmen Mam Vanda and Keo Pisoth declined to comment.
Bonnar said he was only aware of a lawsuit against him from local media reports. He said Sokserey had the right to sue him for defamation, but only if the courts found his own lawsuit to be without merit.
“My case has a long way to go,” he said. “This might be a threat; this threat can be another crime.”