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Rector denies theft of $30m

Rector denies theft of $30m

The rector of a high-profile university, who allegedly siphoned US$30 million from tycoon Kok An’s Anco Company, has called for an independent reinvestigation into charges against her.

Phnom Penh International University rector Tep Kolab and her husband Heng Chheang, a chairman of the board of the same institution and former Anco Company vice-president, were charged on July 4 with breach of trust after Kok An alleged they had stolen from his firm.

In a letter dated Wednesday, Tep Kolab called on the Ministry of Justic to form an independent committee tasked with auditing the finances of the tycoon’s company and Khmer Electrical Power Co Ltd.  

“I would like to request the judge to create an independent audit with combined experts as well as lawyers from both parties,” the letter read.

“The expert and the lawyer from each party could request the [independent] auditing commission to audit any point that they argue could lead to more charges or the dismissal of charges”.

The suspects have a right to their conclusions but I conducted the investigation impartially

She claimed Kok An’s allegations were false and that Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Te Sam Ang had failed to correctly follow legal procedures during his subsequent investigation.
Te Sam Ang yesterday defended his original investigation, ruling out any interference from the well-connected tycoon.  “I arbitrated following the law using specific case files. The suspects have a right to their conclusions but I conducted the investigation impartially,” he said.

Sam Pracheameanit, chief of cabinet at the Ministry of Justice, said he was unaware of actions as a result of Tep Kolab’s request.

Anco is responsible for locally distributing a range of products including Budweiser beer, 555 cigarettes and Evian water, according to the company’s website.

The two suspects were originally charged with siphoning $4 million into their personal bank accounts before investigations found a significantly higher sum had been stolen.

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