Court Summons CPP Official for the Seventh Time

Undeterred by six previous summons that went ignored, Phnom Penh Municipal Court has, for a seventh time, ordered a senior Ministry of Agriculture official for questioning over charges of fraud, officials said.

Ith Nody, a CPP undersecretary of state at the ministry, said Thurs­day that he has no intention of at­tending the questioning, scheduled for Tuesday, over allegations that he cheated a man out of $15,000 in 1999.

“I will not go. It is not a real case,” said Ith Nody, who was charged in absentia early last year.

Nhien Sovann, the investigating judge who issued the latest summons on March 3, declined to discuss which action might be taken if Ith Nody does not attend.

While the undersecretary of state has been able to avoid the long arm of the law, his former partner has not been so lucky.

Ly Sodalis, 36, who was charged with fraud under article 46 of the Untac law over the same case on May 16, 2002, has been held at Prey Sar prison ever since without a verdict being issued on her case.

Court documents describe Ly Sodilas as Ith Nody’s wife, though he says she was his mistress.

Lawyer Kao Soupha, who is representing the couple’s alleged victim, blasted the court for holding Ly Sodilas several years over the legal six-month limit for pre-trial detentions.

“The court is violating the law,” he said, adding that any court officials responsible for her case should be prosecuted.

Ith Nody said he had little sympathy for Ly Sodilas, with whom he said he lived for several years.

“She is a criminal,” he said. “She cheated people, including provincial governors.”

Asked why an arrest warrant has not been issued for Ith Nody, Municipal Court Prosecutor Nget Sarath laughed and referred questions back to Nhien Sovann, who has issued seven summons for the undersecretary of state since early 2005.

Huot Chhour, who claims Ith Nody and Ly Sodalis defrauded him when he applied with the Ministry of Agriculture for a license for a sawmill in Kompong Cham province, said he has since been employed as a clerk at the municipal court. He added that he is still keen for Ith Nody to face trial.

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