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New ‘Sokha’ recording out amid ACU grilling

Thida Khus (centre), executive director of NGO Silaka, talks to the media yesterday in Phnom Penh after exiting the Anti-Corruption Unit.
Thida Khus (centre), executive director of NGO Silaka, talks to the media yesterday in Phnom Penh after exiting the Anti-Corruption Unit. Hong Menea

New ‘Sokha’ recording out amid ACU grilling

Three senior Adhoc staffers resumed their questioning at the Anti-Corruption Unit yesterday and were joined by women’s rights advocate Thida Kus, Adhoc’s Lem Mony and the National Election Committee’s Ny Chakrya.

As they were grilled inside, yet another new purported audio recording of CNRP acting president Kem Sokha was released on Facebook, this featuring an alleged conversation with a Kampong Cham commune chief jailed on bribery charges.

Yi Soksan, Ny Sokha and Nay Vanda returned to the ACU at 8am yesterday, following a marathon interrogation session on Wednesday that ran late into the night.

The trio, along with Mony, a senior observer at Adhoc, and Ny Chakrya, deputy secretary-general of the NEC and a former Adhoc employee, had yet to emerge from the ACU offices at press time. Adhoc president Thun Saray told the Post there was little hope the five would be released.

The new audio recording – released on The Truth of CNRP Facebook page, which has hosted previous alleged Sokha phone conversations – purports to feature Sokha and Seang Chet, a Sam Rainsy Party commune chief from Kampong Cham who was sent to temporary detention on Wednesday on accusations of attempting to bribe a witness.

In the recording, a man, who sounds like Sokha, asks the other man on the call, allegedly Chet, to ask a third person, referred to only by a gender neutral Khmer term for niece or nephew, to “not change the stance and to not be afraid or change the answers”.

The man goes on to say that he had discussed the issue with a legal officer from the UN and that the government had no case, only to add that if the third person was mistreated, they could consider moving that person abroad.

Yesterday’s recording follows a flurry of similar audio recordings released in early March – first on a Facebook page attributed to a “Mon Srey” and almost simultaneously on a page called The Truth of CNRP.

Thus far, no publicly announced investigation has been launched by law enforcement officials into whether the recordings were the result of phone tapping.

When CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said in a March interview that he was confident of the authenticity of the recordings released then, adding that they were recorded by the woman, supposedly Chandaraty. Yesterday, however, he was at a loss to explain the recordings’ origins.

“They have techniques to record voice via phones,” he said, without explaining to whom “they” referred. “There is no need for a telecom company to tape the sound.”

Back at the ACU, Kus told reporters she had been questioned by ACU boss Om Yentieng and three other officials and was asked about her interaction with Sokha’s alleged mistress, Khom Chandaraty, as well as Adhoc.

“I told him I was not deeply involved with Srey Mom [Chandaraty],” she said. “The accusation against me was that I instructed Srey Mom to lie, and with regards to my relation with Adhoc, I said that I worked with civil society groups regularly.”

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