Opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s lawyer has asked Municipal Court Deputy Prosecutor Nget Sarath to strip National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh of his parliamentary immunity.
Som Chandyna sent a letter Monday to Nget Sarath demanding that Ranariddh’s immunity be stripped to allow a legal investigation into his involvement in an alleged corrupt bidding process for the construction of the new National Assembly building. It would also pave the way for Sam Rainsy to pursue a countersuit against Prince Ranariddh, who has filed a defamation suit against the opposition leader.
“Asking for the lifting of the prince’s immunity is up to the [National Assembly] Construction Committee,” Deputy Prosecutor Nget Sarath said on Wednesday, adding that he wanted the Committee to explain the case to him before he would make any ruling.
“Let’s see the evidence first,” he said.
In the letter, Som Chandyna alleges that 20 companies placed bids for the National Assembly project. One company, which placed a $19.7 million bid, initially won the contract, he said. But the contract was then granted to the Ly Chhuong company, even though its bid was a much higher at $26.7 million.
Som Chandyna claimed that Ly Chhuong company has close ties to Cheam Yeap, the head of the Construction Committee.
Noranarith Anandayath, the prince’s Cabinet chief, on Tuesday described Som Chandya’s request as political revenge. Prince Ranariddh was not the only person involved in the new Assembly construction deal, he said.
If the opposition’s lawyer wants the investigation to proceed, other members of the Committee would also have to be stripped of their immunity, he added.