Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - High-profile corruption case delayed

High-profile corruption case delayed

High-profile corruption case delayed

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court has postponed a hearing in a case involving one of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cousins and a former government official, charged with giving and accepting bribes in an attempt to influence the settlement of a land dispute involving 120 families in Dangkor district.

Presiding Judge Duch Kimsorn said more time was needed for investigations, and that the trial would be held on an unspecified future date.

Seng Yean, former deputy general director of inspection at the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations, is accused of accepting US$200,000 in 2008 from businesswoman Di Prem, a first cousin of Hun Sen. The payment was allegedly made to influence the investigation of a dispute over six hectares of land in Kakab commune with local woman Huot Sarom.

Yesterday, Hun Sen encouraged the court to punish his cousin if she is found guilty, and said he had rejected requests by senior government officials to intervene in the case.

“The law is the law and it does not think about relatives. Therefore, I strongly support and encourage the court to continue its work in doing this case,” he said, while presiding over the ground-breaking ceremony of a new overpass project in Phnom Penh.

Hun Sen said Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana had submitted a written request to him to drop charges against Di Prem. The letter, dated September 19, claims that Di Prem had only sought to find solutions to the land dispute.

National Assembly President Heng Samrin also wrote to Hun Sen in June of last year asking him to drop the charges against Seng Yean.

Kao Ty, a lawyer for Huot Sarom, who filed the initial bribery complaint, said the court’s delay showed it was hesitant to proceed in the face of pressure from high-level government officials.  

“If the court does not drop its charges against them, and takes action through legal procedures, it will be a good start for combating corruption,” he said.

If found guilty, Seng Yean faces between three and seven years jail. Di Prem faces between one and three  years.

MOST VIEWED

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the