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Ministry staffer gets two years in corruption case

Foreign Ministry official Ear Sae (centre) arrives at Phnom Penh Municipal Court for a hearing earlier this month.
Foreign Ministry official Ear Sae (centre) arrives at Phnom Penh Municipal Court for a hearing earlier this month. Hong Menea

Ministry staffer gets two years in corruption case

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official was yesterday sentenced to two years in jail – with one year suspended – and ordered to pay a fine of 6 million riel (about $1,500) after being found guilty on corruption charges.

Ear Sae, 42, was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit on March 31 and charged with misappropriation of public funds after he took bribes from a business owner seeking permission to export sports clothes to Brazil.

The judge explained that he had decided on the reduced sentence because the accused did not have a criminal record and had worked for the state for 17 years.

During the court hearing on July 4, Sae confessed that he agreed to accept $700 from the business owner to speed up the approval process, but had not taken any money until $1,000 was placed in a folder, which was left on his desk following a meeting.

“[The business owner] begged me to help process the documents and then put the money in a folder. I gave the documents and the money back, but she just left. Then the ACU arrested me,” he said.

Ministry official Sok Khoeun testified in court that no ministry services required fees.

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