Former Social Affairs Director Sentenced for Embezzlement

The Takeo Provincial Court on Wednesday sentenced the former director of the province’s social affairs department to 2 1/2 years in prison after convicting him of embezzlement.

However, Sam Oum Monira is to be released from jail on Friday after Presiding Judge Chea Sokchandeth suspended the majority of his sentence, deputy prosecutor Tin Sochetra said.

“The sentence is 2 1/2 years in prison, but the presiding judge ordered the imprisonment to be just eight months and 15 days” by suspending the rest of the sentence, Mr. Sochetra said.

The deputy prosecutor explained that because Mr. Oum Monira, who admitted to embezzling public funds, had already spent eight months and 14 days in prison, he would serve just one more day before being released on Friday.

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) arrested Mr. Oum Monira in April 2014, while he was the director of Takeo’s Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation department, and accused him of embezzling about $110,000 from 2006 to 2014.

The ACU said Mr. Oum Monira had stolen bonuses meant for veterans and kept donations earmarked from the Cambodian Red Cross for himself, as well as misappropriating funds intended to be used for his subordinates’ travel to other provinces for work purposes.

The provincial court Wednesday convicted him of five counts of embezzlement and ordered him to repay the $110,000 that he had misappropriated.

“The convict confessed to embezzlement,” said Mr. Sochetra, who added that Mr. Oum Monira was also fined 5 million riel (about $1,250).

Takeo Provincial Prison chief Kong Sitha confirmed that Mr. Oum Monira would be released from jail Friday.

“His eight months and 15 days imprisonment will be reached tomorrow, so he is still here since he needs to serve one day more in prison before his release,” Mr. Sitha said.

ACU chairman Om Yentieng could not be reached for comment, while his vice chairman, Chhay Savuth, declined to comment.

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