Phnom Penh Municipal Court has wrapped up its investigation of alleged bribe-taking by a senior government official at the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection over a land dispute in Dangkao district two years ago, lawyers and court officials said yesterday.
Judge Sin Visal said he closed his investigation last week and forwarded his findings to the court president so a trial date can be scheduled.
“I sent the case file for trial scheduling last week,” he said. “I do not know when [it will happen] or which judge will be assigned to hear the case.”
Judge Visal declined to disclose the results of his investigation, citing court confidentiality.
Seng Yean, the former deputy director-general of inspection at the Ministry of National Assembly-Senate Relations and Inspection, was fired by Prime Minister Hun Sen in July after an internal government inquiry accused him of taking a bribe to influence his findings as part of a inquest into a land dispute in the capital’s Dangkao district.
In a closely guarded ruling in January, Judge Visal said his investigation was incomplete and declined to detain Mr Yean, who was charged in August with accepting a $30,000 bribe from a woman, Dy Proem, who had a financial interest in the dispute, as well as 120 villagers, during his investigation of a conflict in which the villagers claimed to own around six hectares in Kakab commune’s Kakab village.
Kao Ty, the lawyer representing the owner of the disputed land, Huot Sarom, said Judge Visal informed the parties to the case on June 21 that the investigation against Mr Yean had officially ended, and that the court will hear the case sometime next month.
“The evidence is overwhelming, and the charged person and his accomplices have confessed already, but the court never considered that,” said Mr Ty. “I do not believe that the suspect and accomplices will be punished. The court action is a joke.”
Neither Chiv Keng, the president of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, nor Some Kimsour, who heads the Inspection Ministry, could be reached yesterday. Judge Keng and Ms Kimsour are both members of the recently formed Anticorruption Council.
Yi Mao, undersecretary of state at the Inspection Ministry, who helped investigate the alleged bribery, said he could not comment on the case as it is now out of his hands.