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Official appears in court

Official appears in court

Ros Roeun, under secretary of state at the Ministry of Social Affairs, walks out from the municipal Court yesterday.

A high-ranking government official allegedly involved in a land dispute case with the wife of a former Funcinpec secretary of state appeared in Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning yesterday.

Ros Roeun, under secretary of state at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, was summoned by municipal court deputy prosecutor Hing Bun Chea on June 28 for questioning regarding accusations that he falsified documents in order to seize 13 hectares of land in Svay Ralum commune of Kandal province’s Sa’ang district.

Court clerk Hy Rath, who questioned Ros Roeun, said yesterday that Ros Roeun claimed that he did not falsify any documents.

“We have questioned him and he answered that he received those documents from someone. So we have not charged him yet. We wait to summon other persons who [allegedly] gave him the documents,” Hy Rath said.

Ros Roeun declined to comment outside court yesterday.

Lin La Nin, a lawyer for Chea Kim – the wife of former Funcinpec Interior Ministry secretary of state Ho Sok – filed a complaint to the municipal court on June 22 accusing Ros Roeun of falsifying land titles in 2008.

The complaint alleges that Ros Roeun posed as a representative of 32 people in an attempt to appeal against a 2007 Kandal provincial court verdict awarding the 13 hectares of land to Chea Kim.

“Ros Roeun and partisans have falsified [a] letter to grab my client’s land and falsely presented people as land owners,” the complaint read. “I would like to request [the court] to convict perpetrator and partisans according to the law … and demand compensation of US$250,000.”

The complaint also stated that some people were not aware that their names were on the land titles and listed other officials who allegedly thumbprinted the falsified documents.

Chea Kim has previously claimed that the land belonged to Ho Sok, who was killed during factional infighting between Funcinpec and the Cambodian People’s Party in 1997.

In April, the Supreme Court awarded the land to former Kandal deputy provincial governor Prak Savuth, who is now Kratie provincial council chief, overturning the 2007 verdict in favour of Chea Kim.

Ros Roeun was one of 29 government officials accused of stealing and conspiring to sell the land in a complaint filed by Chea Kim to the Anticorruption Unit in May.