Court Petitioned To Strip Ranariddh’s Immunity

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.



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