The Ministry of Interior has lodged court cases against 12 political parties that allegedly failed to submit an annual report on their finances and activities, ministry and municipal court officials said Tuesday.
The parties have been given two-and-a-half months to appeal a decision made in absentia that they be fined between $750 and $2,250 for not submitting the report, Judge Tan Senarong said.
He said he made the rulings nearly a year ago, in August 2003, but they were never relayed to the involved parties.
Tan Senarong said he ordered the appeal window on Monday after learning that the Interior Ministry had contacted the Ministry of Information this week about broadcasting the court-ordered fines.
A Constitutional article requires political parties to submit annual reports that include a party’s activities, finances, assets and expenses to the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Finance.
According to the government, the following parties did not file reports: Free Republican Party, Free Development Republic, Khmer Nationalist Party, National Development Party, National Construction Party, New Cambodia Party, Light Freedom Party, Free Democratic Khmer Party, Republic Coalition Party, Free National Reconciliation Party, Free Buddhist Party and the Beehive Party, which has since disbanded.
Interior Ministry officials were adamant Tuesday that the parties submit reports.
“It is very important for political parties to report to the ministry annually because it is defined by the law,” said Sak Setha, general director of the ministry’s general department. He urged the court to enforce the fine.
At least one party head contacted Tuesday said he unaware of the court case or pending fine.
“I don’t understand why the Ministry of Interior has filed a complaint against my party,” said Khmer Democratic Party president Ouk Porik, insisting that he had submitted the party’s annual report.
He said he planned to contact the ministry to sort out the confusion.