Assistant at Gov’t Investment Body Charged With Graft Posts Bail

An assistant at the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) charged with graft over the weekend has been released on bail to receive medical treatment, prison and court officials said on Wednesday.

Chhim Pesith was arrested a week ago and charged on Saturday with misappropriation of public funds for allegedly demanding money to process paperwork for hopeful applicants.

An assistant to an unspecified deputy secretary-general at the CDC, which approves foreign investment projects, Mr. Pesith was placed in provisional detention at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison immediately after being charged.

But a spokesman for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court said on Wednesday that Investigating Judge Horm Sokhemrin agreed to release Mr. Pesith on bail on Monday for medical treatment.

“The judge released him on bail because he is sick and he needs to get treatment from a medical doctor, but he was placed under court supervision,” spokesman Sous Vithearandy said.

Mr. Vithearandy said he did not know what was ailing Mr. Pesith and refused to provide contact information for the judge.

Be Tea Leng, director of the Interior Ministry’s prisons department, confirmed that Mr. Pesith was released, but said he had no idea why.

Mr. Pesith’s arrest was the second of a CDC employee in the past year for alleged bribery.

In response, the CDC released a statement on Wednesday urging investors to use the council’s One Window Service office, which it set up in 2012 to streamline the application process, to avoid corrupt officials. It also advised investors to immediately report any anomalies to the CDC’s complaints department.

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