A Phnom Penh Municipal Court clerk accused by a CPP lawmaker of misrepresenting himself appeared at the Justice Ministry on Tuesday for questioning in the case, a ministry official said.
According to a report in Wednesday’s edition of the Kampuchea Thmey newspaper, CPP lawmaker Chea Chamroeun filed a lawsuit against a women he accused of defrauding his wife-and her business partner-of $1 million.
Hong Bun Hour, the court clerk, allegedly agreed to represent the interests of the defendant in the dispute and negotiating with plaintiff, according to the report.
Kim Sophorn, who works as a judge at the Ministry of Justice, confirmed yesterday that Mr Chamroeun had sued the clerk-though he did not know exactly when-and that the clerk had submitted to questioning at the municipal court.
“He came to give answers already, and he defended himself against the [accusations],” he said.
So Chanthy, general inspector for the Justice Ministry, also confirmed receiving the lawmaker’s lawsuit against the court clerk, but declined to give details about the case.
“I am working on this case and I cannot say what I am doing with this case since my work is confidential,” he said.
Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the free legal aid organization Cambodian Defenders Project, said that he did not know about the particular case, but generally speaking the role of a clerk was little more than a secretary for a judge or prosecutor.
“The clerk is only an assistant to the judge and prosecutor. He or she just takes notes on what the judge and prosecutor ask,” he said.
Ny Chandy, Model Court Project manager for Legal Aid of Cambodia, said in 2008 that court clerks had become akin to a rogue force inside the country’s courts where they were doing the work of prosecutors and judges. Such illegal practices by clerks should lead to the nullification of up to 40 percent of all court decisions, Mr Chandy said at the time.
Clerks should undergo thorough training about their role, Mr Chandy said yesterday.
“If he is the clerk, he cannot act [on the behalf of] the defendant party,” he added.
Neither Mr Chamroeun nor Mr Bun Hour could be reached for comment.