5 Lawmakers Vow Appeal of Mobitel Ruling

Five opposition lawmakers vowed Tuesday to take their case to the Supreme Council of Mag­istracy after the municipal court’s chief prosecutor dismissed a lawsuit they filed alleging CPP Minister of Telecommunications So Khun received large cash payments from Mobitel.

Ngor Sovann and four other newly elected Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarians—Sok Pheng, Chrea Sochenda, Nuth Rumduol and Chea Poch—filed a lawsuit on March 1 against So Khun and the director of Mobitel, accusing the minister of compromising the interests of his post by serving as the mobile phone company’s adviser for $2,500 per month.

In a letter to the opposition lawmakers dated March 29, Chief Prosecutor Ouk Savouth wrote that the court “won’t consider this case.” It included no explanation.

“We have enough evidence and witnesses to support the complaint,” opposition lawmaker Ngor Sovann said Tuesday.

Contacted Tuesday, Ouk Sa­vouth said the phone connection was unclear and it went dead. Numerous subsequent calls to Ouk Savouth placed from different phones went unanswered.

Opposition lawmakers condemned Ouk Savouth’s decision.

“Ouk Savouth doesn’t adhere to his code of ethics as a prosecutor,” Ngor Sovann said.

“I think [Ouk Savouth] doesn’t consider the complaint because So Khun is a senior politician and this presents a political problem,” he added.

When confronted during a meeting at the National Assembly  in 2001 about money he received from Mobitel, So Khun said he was paid to serve as the company’s honorary adviser.

Numerous calls placed to So Khun Tuesday went unanswered.             The minister has recently de­nied receiving a monthly salary from Mobitel, but acknowledged the country’s leading mobile phone company paid for his travel expenses during Mobitel meetings he attended as an adviser.

Mobitel Chairman Kith Meng said Tuesday he was not aware of the prosecutor’s decision. He declined additional comment.

Court decisions like this make people lose confidence in the country’s judicial system, Sok Pheng said Tuesday.

“This proves that the courts are afraid of powerful people, especially CPP members,” he said.


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