Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New summons for Sokha as local chief questioned

New summons for Sokha as local chief questioned

Seang Chet (centre), commune chief of the Sam Rainsy Party, is escorted out of Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday afternoon after being questioned.
Seang Chet (centre), commune chief of the Sam Rainsy Party, is escorted out of Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday afternoon after being questioned. Heng Chivoan

New summons for Sokha as local chief questioned

Acting opposition leader Kem Sokha has been issued a summons yet again to answer questions over an alleged prostitution case involving hairdresser Khom Chandaraty after he failed to appear before the court on Tuesday.

In a related case stemming from the same scandal, Sam Rainsy Party member Seang Chet, a commune chief in Kampong Cham, yesterday was in court for a second time to answer questions on the alleged bribery of Chandaraty’s family.

In an order issued by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court obtained yesterday, deputy prosecutor Seang Sok ordered Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) second-in-command Sokha to appear as a witness in court on May 26.

But CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann confirmed that Sokha will continue to ignore the summons. “He will not go [to court]. Firstly, because he still has immunity; secondly, he has not done anything wrong,” Sovann said.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin and Phnom Penh court spokesman Ly Sophanna warned further steps could be taken to compel Sokha to appear, but they did not specify what those steps were.

“If he still does not appear this clearly shows he does not cooperate and is not fulfilling his obligation to the law. The court can take procedures if he does not appear after the second summons,” Malin said.

Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said that although Sokha was legally protected by immunity, in the current political climate it was no guarantee he would not be arrested.

“Now I cannot predict what will happen, because lawmakers who have immunity have already been jailed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chet was questioned for two hours for information into the alleged bribery, which his wife had previously defended as a $500 charitable donation from Cambodians abroad to Chandaraty’s mother, which she ultimately did not accept.

Chet will apply for bail next week. Kem Sokha also refused to appear last week after being summonsed over a $1 million defamation case launched by social media celebrity Thy Sovantha in the wake of phone recordings of conversations, purportedly between Kem Sokha and Chandaraty, were aired online.

Independent political analyst Ou Virak said people would lose confidence in the judicial system if Sokha was arrested, adding that hostility for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party would only grow.

“If the CPP wants to destroy the CNRP, as long as citizens are unhappy with the ruling party, the destruction won’t be effective,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • US, Cambodia pledge to strengthen military ties

    The US on Tuesday pledged to help train military officers, particularly Cambodia’s blue helmet troops deployed for UN’s peacekeeping operations. The pledge was made during a meeting between US ambassador Patrick Murphy and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) commander-in-chief General Vong Pisen. Further

  • Rights Day forum denied in Sihanoukville

    The Preah Sihanouk provincial administration last Saturday denied the request of land communities for a public location in the province to celebrate International Human Rights Day 2019 as the administration had already held forums to discuss land issues. However, the land community representatives said they would

  • Sokha lodges an appeal over treason case reaching court

    Kem Sokha, the president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has appealed against the decision to send his treason case to trial. Sokha’s legal team said their client was not satisfied with the decision of a Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating

  • Gov’t approves $9B worth of building projects in 2019

    The government has approved more than $9 billion this year for capital investment in the construction sector, a nearly 80 per cent increase on last year, with most of the growth coming from projects in Sihanoukville, according to Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction Chea

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the