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‘Whistleblower’ candidate of judicial exam faces court, seeks intervention

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Kong Bunrith petitioned the King, government, National Assembly and the Senate to instruct the examination board to provide transparency in its grading. FACEBOOK

‘Whistleblower’ candidate of judicial exam faces court, seeks intervention

A candidate who failed his judicial examination and has been charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for alleging procedural irregularities is seeking intervention from top state institutions.

Charged on three counts, Kong Bunrith is due to appear for questioning on Friday.

Bunrith told The Post on Tuesday that he had petitioned the King, government, National Assembly and the Senate.

He requested they instruct the examination board to provide transparency in its grading and urged the court to drop all charges against him, claiming he was a whistle-blower.

“The court charges me with three offences that seem to be vague. I’m disappointed with the charges and the examination results. I want those institutions to help me,” he said.

Bunrith was among a handful of candidates who protested the examination results in November. He filed a complaint to the Supreme Council for Consultation and posted a video clip on social media purportedly showing irregularities in the examination.

He protested even after the Royal Academy of Judicial Professions, the Ministry of Justice, and the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) announced the examination was transparent and fair.

In the video clip, Bunrith read out messages he claimed to have received from other candidates saying they had to pay a bribe of up to $150,000 to pass the examination.

That prompted the municipal court to summon him for questioning before charging him with defamation, slander and incitement to discriminate.

Bunrith said he will appear before the court to prove his innocence, saying he was merely exposing corrupt practices in the examination process.

“I am not changing my stance because what I have shown in public so far is a clue to corruption. The Anti-Corruption Unit [ACU] is always encouraging people to report all forms of corruption to improve Cambodia’s judicial system and I did just that,” he said.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan told The Post on Tuesday the examination is administered by the Ministry of Justice and outside the government’s jurisdiction.

“He [Bunrith] is seeking the prime minister’s intervention, but it would be very hard for him to intervene because this is a separate responsibility.

“But I believe that if there is injustice in this case, Samdech (Hun Sen) would question relevant ministries as he always does,” he said.

Ministry of Justice secretary of state and spokesman Chin Malin told The Post on Tuesday that relevant institutions including the ACU had clarified transparency in the examination.

Malin said while Bunrith has the right to file a petition to state institutions for intervention, he should be prepared for legal defence as well.

“He has now gone beyond the legal rights to protest, but instead has breached the law and violated the rights of others through baseless defamation and slander,” he said.

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