The Phnom Penh Municipal Court is scheduled to question a former senior government official next week who has been accused of accepting a $30,000 bribe in a land dispute in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district and who drew criticism from Prime Minister Hun Sen, lawyers and court officials said yesterday.
Seng Yean, former deputy director-general of the inspection department at the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection, was charged with bribery in August and was summoned by Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Sin Visal to appear at the court for questioning on Nov 26, said Nach Try, Mr Yean’s defense lawyer.
“This is the first request from an investigating judge for further questioning,” said Mr Try, who declined to disclose the whereabouts of Mr Yean. Mr Yean has been in hiding since August, he said.
In July, an internal government inquiry found that Mr Yean took a $30,000 bribe from a businesswoman and villagers in exchange for a favorable decision in his investigation into ownership of 6.675 hectares of land in Kakab village, Kakab commune of Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district.
The premier on July 30 fired Mr Yean from his position and ordered prosecutors to seek charges against him. Mr Hun Sen described the alleged bribery as a “very serious case” in his written comments on the ministry report.
Deputy Phnom Penh Prosecutor Sok Roeun, in a submission issued on Aug 7, requested that Judge Visal charge Mr Yean with accepting a bribe and also charge businesswoman Dy Proem with giving a bribe.
Contacted yesterday, Judge Visal said he could not remember the scheduled date to question Mr Yean, but said he had already interviewed other suspects. He declined to reveal the other suspects’ names.
Chann Vichet, a lawyer representing Ms Proem and Long Norin, a ministry lawyer who investigated Mr Yean, declined to talk about the court case when contacted yesterday.