City Officials Charged With Misappropriating Public Funds

Two City Hall officials were sent to prison on Thursday after being charged with misappropriation of public funds following an investigation by the government’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU).

Mai Vannarum and Roth Borey were questioned at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday and Wednesday before Investigating Judge Pich Vicheathel ordered them to be detained at Prey Sar Prison to await trial, said Y Rin, spokesman for the court.

“Mr. Mai Vannarum was charged with misappropriation of public funds that happened during August 2015…and Roth Borey was charged with the same count, and the duration of the crime was the same,” Mr. Rin said.

The charge carries a two- to five-year prison sentence and a fine of between $1,000 and $2,500.

Officials were unable to give specifics about the two men’s work or why they had been investigated.

Court spokesman Ly Sophanna said Mr. Borey was the head of the investment office at City Hall’s planning and investment division, while Mr. Vannarum was an official in the same office.

According to City Hall spokesman Met Measpheakdey, the ACU had initiated the investigations into the two and sent them to court, and referred all other questions to deputy city governor Mean Chanyada.

Mr. Chanyada could not tell reporters what funds Mr. Vannarum and Mr. Borey had misappropriated, or why the charges were now being brought against them.

“Please contact the ACU and the court,” Mr. Chanyada said. “The release of official information is from the court.”

ACU chairman Om Yentieng could not be reached for comment. Deputy prosecutor Sieng Sok, who had questioned the two officials, also could not be reached.

“The two institutions are currently working on it, so we are not clear what has happened yet,” Mr. Chanyada said.

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