Convicted fraudster Gregg Fryett filed a criminal complaint in the last week of January accusing the forestry official who charged him of corruption and overstepping his jurisdiction.
“It challenges his right to make a complaint and details his corruption,” Fryett said in an email, describing his complaint about Van Sophana.
“Van Sophana holds the position of Chief for the North Tonle Sap Forestry Administration Office. He used this position to make a criminal complaint covering land in another district for which the Forestry Administration has no jurisdiction,” reads the complaint, which was written by Fryett.
On December 28, Fryett was convicted of fraud with aggravating circumstances, bribery, faking public documents, using those documents and clearing and occupying state forests illegally. Fryett immediately vowed to appeal his sentence and file complaints of his own against involved officials.
The complaint alleges Sophana “was simply part of a corrupt conspiracy to extort, torture, abduct and imprison international investors”.
Fryett has long maintained that the land he bought and was accused of clearing had already been logged by Mao Malay, the wife of a deputy prime minister, while he was left to take the fall.
Neither Fryett nor his lawyer knew if, or when, a hearing against Sophana would take place, but Fryett said the complaint was “with the prosecutor”.
“They have to hear this or fail in the legal process,” he said.
Contact information from Sophana could not be obtained yesterday, and representatives from the Phnom Penh court could not be reached.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY NIEM CHHENG