Former Court Director Arrested by Anti-Corruption Unit

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) on Friday arrested Ang Mealaktei, the former director of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, who was removed from his position in February after Prime Minister Hun Sen suggested that the court took a multimillion-dollar bribe to grant bail to a wealthy couple.

For months, the ACU has said it was gathering evidence in the case against Mr. Mealaktei, who was moved to a position at the Justice Ministry after being ousted as court director. 

On Saturday, ACU Chairman Om Yentieng said that Mr. Mealaktei was arrested at 12:10 p.m on Friday following questioning at the ACU’s headquarters in Phnom Penh.

“It is true that we arrested him yesterday,” Mr. Yentieng said of Mr. Mealaktei.

“Don’t be confused: We did not arrest him on the street. Basically, we invited him to listen to his answers at the ACU,” he said. “We have listened to his answers at the ACU many times already, and yesterday the ACU listened to his answers again. And his answers provided to us matched our evidence, so we announced in front of him yesterday that we were conducting the arrest at 12:10 p.m.”

Mr. Yentieng said the ACU now had 48 hours to put forward a case to the municipal court, and that it would recommend charges of corruption and extortion.

“So it means that we will send him to court on Sunday before 12:10,” Mr. Yentieng said, adding that the former court director was being held at the ACU’s detention facility.

Mr. Mealaktei was removed on February 17, just hours after Mr. Hun Sen suggested that court officials took a multimillion-dollar bribe to release the parents of Thong Sarath, a Defense Ministry official who stands accused of orchestrating the murder of tycoon Ung Meng Chue in November.

Major General Sarath and his parents were convicted on related charges of illegal weapons possession in June, and handed jail terms of between two years and 30 months.

(Additional reporting by Mech Dara)

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