The cousin of Prime Minister Hun Sen is set to be put on trial over bribery allegations at the end of this month, following a reinvestigation of the high-profile case.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Seng Neang said yesterday that the premier’s cousin, Dy Proem, would face trial on October 27 along with Seng Yean, the former deputy general-director of the inspection department at the Ministry of National Assembly, Senate Relations and Inspection.
In January, Judge Duch Kimsorn ordered the case, which had already reached court four times before being postponed, to be reinvestigated.
The main evidence against Seng Yean is the PM’s decision to remove him
Dy Proem and Seng Yean were charged with bribery in 2009, following a complaint from widow and Phnom Penh landowner Houth Sarom, though neither were detained by authorities.
It has been alleged that the PM’s cousin bribed Seng Yean with US$200,000 in order for him to produce fake documents to allow her to occupy 68-year-old Houth Sarom’s five-hectare plot of land in the capital’s Dangkor district in 2008. Houth Sarom’s defence lawyer Kao Ty said yesterday that he hoped the hearing would find justice for his client.
“The main evidence against Seng Yean is the Prime Minister’s decision to remove him from his position,” he said.
Despite his close ties to one of the accused, the premier has openly supported the case against his cousin. He said in December 2010 that the law “does not think about relatives” and that if guilty his cousin should be “strongly punished”. “If she is found guilty and her sentence is from five to eight years imprisonment, I would like to the court to punish her with eight years imprisonment,” he added.
Neither defendant nor either of their lawyers could be reached for comment.