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Officials face 20 years: ACU

Officials face 20 years: ACU

ANTI-CORRUPTION Unit officials said yesterday that a Pursat provincial prosecutor and two bodyguards arrested on Monday by the recently established body could each face more than 20 years in prison if convicted.

Om Yentieng, who is also a senior adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen and chairman of the government-run Cambodian Human Rights Committee, said at a press conference yesterday that prosecutor Top Chan Sereyvuth and two personal bodyguards had each been charged with corruption, extortion and false imprisonment.

Kheang Seng, head of law enforcement at the ACU, said the prosecutor and his bodyguards could each face more than 20 years in prison if found guilty on more than one of the charges.

“I am not sure, but according to the law each charge will jail [them] from 10 to 15 years [each],” he said. “But it is [up] to the court to decide to minimise or maximum the jail term.”

Om Yentieng said officials were also searching to arrest Pich Kong You, the younger brother of Top Chan

Sereyvuth and owner of a beer garden, who is accused of posing as and carrying out the work of his prosecutor brother.

He said ACU officials had conducted a “thorough investigation” into the case and that the arrests were made based on “strong evidence against them [that] they were abusing their position of power”.

Also yesterday, the ACU released a report naming 30 low-level government officials working for the General Department of Taxes who were found to have been routinely overcharging vehicle owners for road tax.

Collected annually, road taxes range from 4,500 riel (about US$1.05) for some motorbikes to more than 1 million riel ($238) for some cars.

Om Yentieng said the 30 officials were each found to have been regularly charging tax payers an additional 5,000 riel, which they claimed was for an administrative fee.

He said the report would be submitted to the General Department of Taxes, which would be responsible for deciding the fate of the 30 officials.

“We did not send them to the court but we [did] send them for punishment and they will face suspension or expulsion from the job,” he said.