Having been released on bail last week after spending almost two weeks in prison, Sung Bonna, chairman of Bonna Realty Group, has yet to return to work.
His silence may be reasonable, according to Ly Sophanna, the spokesman for the Phnom Penh magistrate court. He confirmed Bonna was released on parole, although he is still under investigation by the court.
Sophanna explained that during the investigation, when the prosecutor accuses someone and sends that person to the judge, there will be two procedures.
First, if the judge deems necessary, he may choose to not detain the accused person, but has to send the case to be examined by the court. Second, the person accused may have the right to be released on parole, but the decision is made by the judge. “In Bonna’s case, he is still under accusation. He has not been fully exempt because he is still under investigation,” Sophanna said.
When asked if Bonna had paid the bail, he said, “He can’t talk about this, and neither can the judge, because this is classified information of the case.”
He added, “I don’t know the reason behind the judge’s decision to release Bunna. If asked, the judge would not talk about this either.”
Cheng Kheng, CEO of Cambodia Properties Limited, a close friend of Bonna’s and former leader of the Cambodian Valuers and Estate Agents Association (CVEA), said if the court had already decided to release Bonna, that has guaranteed his innocence.
“Only if he is a responsible person would he be released. If he had issues and is unable to pay back the money he owes, the judge would not have released him,” Kheng added. Sung Sina, a senior staff at Bonna Realty Group, said earlier this week that his boss had not yet returned to the workplace. He said, “I don’t know when he’ll return. All his phones have been left to be handled by his staff.”
Multiple attempts to personally contact Bonna have been unsuccessful.