B’bang Prosecutor, ‘Iron Fist’ Watchdog Suspended

Battambang provincial court’s chief prosecutor appointed to in­ves­tigate courtroom corruption in Prime Minister Hun Sen’s “iron fist” campaign against graft in the coun­try’s legal system was suspended on Saturday, according to of­ficials at the Ministry of Justice.

The Ministry is investigating “ir­re­gularities” in Yam Yet’s duties as chief prosecutor, Tuot Lux, the mi­n­istry’s secretary of state, said Sun­day.

“The Ministry [of Justice] signed the suspension yesterday,” Tuot Lux said by telephone. “[Yam Yet] has made some mistakes that I can’t tell [about],” he said.

Yam Yet, however, said that he was unaware of the suspension pri­­or to speaking to a reporter on Sun­day afternoon. He said the suspension might involve his decision to drop char­ges against a suspected robber targeted for re-arrest in Hun Sen’s crackdown on cor­rup­tion in the ju­di­ciary.

He said the suspect, whom he de­c­­lined to name, was not in­volved in any crime, but the Gen­e­ral Prosecution Department had or­dered him to be recharged.

“The suspect has not even been re­leased yet and I don’t understand [the suspension],” Yam Yet said.

“If they say I am wrong, I don’t have anything to complain about… [but] I have the right to decide be­cause I am the judge.”

Yam Yet’s case will be sent to the Supreme Council of Ma­gis­tra­cy, Tuot Lux said.

Justice Minister, Ang Vong Va­tha­na could not be reached for com­­­ment on Sunday.

Yam Yet was appointed earlier this year to lead the investigation in­­­to allegations of corruption against four Phnom Penh Mu­ni­ci­pal Court officials. Last month the Supreme Council of Magistracy sus­­pended for one year Judge Ham Mengse, Deputy Prosecutor Khut Sopheang and Judge Hing Thirith. Phnom Penh deputy prosecutor Siem Sok Aun was fired, while Ouk Savuth, chief prosecutor, was given a warning.



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