Disgraced former Phnom Penh Municipal Court president Ang Maltey was freed from Kandal Provincial Prison yesterday, after serving half of his sentence for corruption.
Maltey’s charge of embezzlement was reduced to the lesser sentence of “unlawful exploitation” after it was found he granted bail to police officer-turned-drug trafficker Thav Thavy in exchange for a luxury car – an Audi SUV which he then gave to his son.
Maltey was also accused by Prime Minister Hun Sen of taking a hefty bribe to grant bail to the parents of businessman Thong Sarath – who was accused of orchestrating the assassination of another tycoon. The
Anti-Corruption Unit dropped a probe into the latter allegation.
The former judge had one year of his sentence suspended and a further six months were shaved off by King Norodom Sihamoni during last year’s Water Festival pardons. Kandal provincial prosecutor Lem Sokunthear, who signed a court order for Maltey’s release, said Maltey left the prison at about 11am yesterday.
“He was freed because he has undergone the punishment already,” he said.
Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said Maltey’s prison time made him ineligible to be returned to a position in the judiciary. “He has committed the crime, so he cannot work in the state institution anymore,” Malin said.
Mam Sitha, director of the Independent Anti-Corruption Committee in Cambodia, said Maltey got off lightly compared to political prisoners and land activists – an inequality that was cause for criticism.
“What he has done is a serious mistake, and the punishment should be heavier than this to set a model for other officials,” she said.
Transparency International’s Preap Kol agreed the sentence was too lenient.
“It would really send a wrong message if the former judge [was] re-appointed to any government position after he walked out of jail,” he said.