The aide of disgraced Phnom Penh Municipal Court president Ang Maltey, charged with meddling in an investigation on behalf of his boss, yesterday told Phnom Penh Municipal Court he was just “obeying orders”.
Brigadier General Pich Prumhmony – Maltey’s right-hand man, bodyguard and “god brother”, yesterday faced trial over his role in the scandal involving the parents of businessman Thong Sarath, charged with masterminding the assassination of fellow tycoon Ung Meng Cheu in Phnom Penh last year.
Maltey was ousted in February after accusations he released Thong Chamroeun and Keo Sary, Sarath’s parents, on bail after receiving a hefty bribe.
Yesterday, deputy prosecutor Ly Sophanna said Prumhmony, 51 – who also faces a charge for switching the number plates on a Hummer seized from a convicted drug trafficker and taking the car for his personal use – had interfered with the probe.
Sophanna said Prumhmony – a former deputy army chief of staff in the defence ministry – had accompanied investigators on a raid of Sarath’s parent’s house – in which illegal firearms were uncovered – and had also sorted through video evidence of Meng Cheu’s shooting.
“He has used the influence of the court president, who was his very close relative and his boss, to interfere with the prosecutors and judges’ functions at the court,” Sophanna said.
Sophanna said the defendant – who had worked for Maltey for eight months – had been spotted meeting with Thong Sarath’s accused parents at their residence after they were released on bail after being charged with possessing illegal firearms.
Testifying yesterday, Prumhmony admitted accompanying investigators on the raids, scanning the footage and meeting Sarath’s parents.
He said he had been assigned by Maltey to go “undercover” and glean information from the duo after they were released from prison.
He, however, laid the blame with his former boss.
“I was his driver, his assistant and his bodyguard, so I had to obey his orders,” he said.
Further, Prumhmony’s lawyer, Pheng Sideth, said there was “no evidence” to prove his client interfered with the investigators’ work.
He also contested the charge that Prumhmony had fitted the Hummer with fake military plates, saying the plates were already attached when the car was seized.
Prumhmony faces between 1 and 3 years in jail if convicted.The trial will continue on October 30.