Ambassador Remains in Detention Over Graft

Cambodia’s ambassador to South Korea remained in detention at the Phnom Penh headquarters of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) on Tuesday after being summoned for questioning over unspecified misconduct.

Suth Dina was called to the unit’s offices on Monday after six ACU officials traveled to Seoul in March to grill him about corruption complaints from multiple sources, including Facebook users.

In an interview with Women’s Radio FM 102 on Tuesday, ACU Chairman Om Yentieng said Mr. Dina was still being questioned about the allegations and that his officials were preparing to forward two cases against the ambassador to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“We have only 48 hours to carry out the procedure. The evidence we have found and the answers that Mr. Dina has given have matched with each other on many points,” Mr. Yentieng told the radio station.

“We will choose two cases to send to court to put the charges against him,” he added without elaborating.

Reached by telephone, Mr. Yentieng declined to comment.

The ambassador’s wife, Sum Sokun Mealea, said she was convinced of her husband’s innocence.

“I don’t know what His Excellency Om Yentieng is raising against him, but for me, his wife, I am sure that he is an innocent person. He has never even thought about corruption in his life,” she said.

Mr. Dina entered the political arena as a member of the anti-government youth group Students’ Movement for Democracy in the late 1990s, but fell out with the group’s leaders and established an offshoot organization. He then founded the Khmer National Front Party before moving to the Norodom Ranariddh Party in 2006. He then defected to the CPP in 2009 and was made an undersecretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry before being named ambassador to South Korea in 2014.

His tenure as ambassador has been marked by controversy, however, with the foreign minister writing to him shortly after his appointment to accuse him of nepotism.

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