Supreme Consultation Forum member and president of the Khmer Rise Party (KRP), Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung, said he will submit a report on the case of Australian missionary Martin Chan King Wai to Prime Minister Hun Sen after discovering irregularities in the charge.
“We are preparing a detailed report after our own investigations into the charge and it will be sent to Samdech Techo [Hun Sen] next week,” Vathana Sabung said.
Chan was originally sued in a bitter dispute over a scrapped multi-million dollar school project, which went to the National Commercial Arbitration Centre where he and his charity were cleared of any wrongdoing.
The same case was then reviewed as a criminal case, meaning Chan was imprisoned for three months, before the Appeal Court decided to grant him bail on February 7.
Vathana Sabung said his investigation discovered several irregularities. He did not understand why what was a commercial dispute which was dealt with by the National Commercial Arbitration Centre, was then reviewed again as a criminal case.
“Regarding the charge, I don’t want to mention [anything] that affects the judge or the court, but only the prosecutor. I do not understand why the prosecutor charged Chan with fraud. I do not believe the prosecutor followed the law properly,” he said.
Vathana Sabung took to Facebook, writing that Chan and his wife had asked him to intervene in the case.
He said Chan and his wife had come to Cambodia for business and charity work, and although they were involved in the commercial dispute, they had won the case at all levels.
The Kandal provincial court spokesman on February 3 issued a second press release on the case after the statements were made on Facebook.
The press release said the case of the Australian national, whose statements claimed he entered Cambodia to do charity work, did not reflect the truth.
“The Kandal provincial prosecutor charged Martin Chan King Wai with ‘fraud’, committed in Prek Hou Khang Keut village in Takhmao town’s Prek Hou commune on February 23, 2016, under articles 377 and 378 of the Criminal Code.
“He faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to six million riel [$1,500] if convicted.”
Chan said “This is a civil case, not a criminal case and the arbitration result has been acknowledged by the Appeal and Supreme courts.
“Moreover, the Appeal Court has also released me on bail, it shows the Appeal Court has maintained the integrity of the justice system in Cambodia.
“I hope the Kandal court will acknowledge the decision made by the Appeal and Supreme Courts and dismiss this case.”