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Student under fire over exam corruption claims

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The student claimed his peers paid bribes to pass the judicial exam. Ministry of Justice

Student under fire over exam corruption claims

A group of 55 students who passed the recent judicial examination have submitted a report to the justice ministry expressing support for legal action against a failing student who has since claimed some of his peers paid up to $150,000 in bribes to secure passing grades.

The students filed the report to Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana on Monday ahead of the scheduled court questioning of failing student Kong Bunrith, who on January 26 posted a video on Facebook accusing Ministry of Justice senior officials of taking bribes.

The municipal court summoned him for questioning on February 14 over accusations of public defamation, slander and incitement to discriminate.

“To certify the cleanliness and provide justice, we as students of batch 10 of the Royal Academy of Judicial Professions ask His Excellency Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana to take action against a person named Kong Bunrith and his companions, complying with legal procedures,” the report from the 55 students said.

The students noted that they fully supported the process and results of the examination, which took place in November.

They said they were able to pass the examination based solely on their capacity in all stages of the oral and written examination process.

They noted that no bribes were paid and those with the most knowledge passed the examination.

The students rejected the information in Bunrith’s Facebook post, stressing it was inaccurate and intentionally undermined their dignity, along with the reputations of the ministry and its institutions.

Bunrith’s seven-minute video clip on Facebook recounts activities and procedures of corruption, claiming about 50 students paid bribes to a tune of $3 million in total.

His video also mentions several Ministry of Justice senior officials involved in the collection of bribes.

Bunrith told The Post on Tuesday that the information he shared in his video came from sources who messaged him privately.

He said he expected he would share the information that was passed on and it would lead to a full investigation.

“All the things in the video are just clues showing irregularities in the student examination. I decided to read the message someone sent to me. As I read them, I didn’t know whether they were true or not,” he said.

Bunrith said he would appear at the court on February 14 as requested.

He said he believes the 55 students who penned the report to the ministry also want to see a full investigation.

Khmer Rise Party president and member of the Supreme Consultation Forum Sok Sovann Vathana Sabung expressed support for Bunrith.

Vathana Sabung, who filed a report to Prime Minister Hun Sen over examination irregularities earlier this month, said Bunrith is being silenced.

“This is suppression and the closure of people’s freedom against the person who mentioned clues to corruption. Relevant institutions should have conducted a proper investigation, and he [Bunrith] should not be accused.

“We have submitted instances of irregularities in the past to Samdech Techo Hun Sen. As for the lawsuit against Kong Bunrith, I find it incorrect because he expressed his opinion only to seek intervention.

“We will continue to follow up with this as he was just summoned, but not yet accused. I will follow up because I do not know who filed the complaint against him,” Vathana Sabung said.

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