A former two-star general of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces who was charged with defrauding a businessman in 2011 was acquitted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday due to lack of evidence.
“There is no proof or document to show that he had committed the offence,” said judge Phou Pov Sun.
He ordered that the charges of fraud against Pov Sovann, 49 – who used to serve in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit – be dropped and that Sovann be released from prison immediately.
Last year, Sovann, who was also in the real estate business, was arrested for fraud after fellow businessman Sok Mao, 58, said Sovann had cheated him of $105,700 in a 2011 business deal involving two-and-a-half hectares of land in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district.
Mao alleged that Sovann had set a price of $300,000 on the land, but when he deposited an initial $105,700 and asked for the land titles, he found the property didn’t belong to Sovann in the first place.
During hearings last month, Sovann denied defrauding Mao, but admitted receiving the funds from Mao and dividing it with another man, Yaing Kimsean, who has since escaped.
Sovann told the court he had acquired the land from Kimsean, who had given it to him as payment for a previous deal.
However, when Sovann tried to sell Mao what he thought was rightfully his, he discovered that Kimsean had already sold the land to someone else.
But yesterday, the court decided that there was no proof that Mao had handed over the $105,700 deposit and acquitted Sovann of the charges.
Sovann’s lawyer, Ou Vuth, said justice had been done, and that the “court’s decision was made with common sense.”
Mao could not be reached for comment, and his lawyer Chong Eav Heng said he did not know if Mao would appeal.