A former Interior Ministry official, who told the court that he was member of Interior Minister Sar Kheng’s cabinet, was on Tuesday sentenced to one year in jail for fraud after he was found guilty of accepting $38,000 in 2011 from a Taiwanese-Canadian national in exchange for citizenship documents that were never delivered.
Soung Veasna, 54, a colonel in the National Police, was ordered by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to return the money and pay 20 million riel [$5,000] in compensation to the victim.
Mr. Veasna told the court he received the money and lodged the application, but because of the One China policy the documents were rejected and he offered to return the funds.
However, the court heard that he instead spent the money.
Lieutenant General Por Phak, deputy chief of cabinet for Mr. Kheng, wrote a letter to The Cambodia Daily on Wednesday stating that Mr. Veasna was never a member of the interior minister’s cabinet, but was a former assistant to a secretary of state at the ministry.
Clarification: A previous version of this article said that Soung Veasna, the defendant, was a member of Interior Minister Sar Kheng’s cabinet, as he told the court. This article has been updated to include the Ministry of Interior’s rejection of Mr. Veasna’s claim.