Disgraced former Phnom Penh Municipal Court director Ang Mealaktei will walk free from Kandal Provincial Prison today after serving one-and-a-half years for unlawful exploitation, provincial prosecutor Lim Sokuntha said on Wednesday.
Mr. Mealaktei was handed a two-year prison term last February for giving his son a confiscated Audi SUV, dodging more serious charges of embezzlement because the court reasoned that the car had not been damaged or registered in his name when the court took it back.
Six months were shaved off his sentence in November, when he was put on the government’s list of prisoners to receive royal pardons or early releases to mark the Water Festival.
Mr. Sokuntha said the former judge’s sentence had been reduced due to good behavior.
Chab Sineang, the prison’s director, confirmed Mr. Mealaktei’s release, reiterating that he had been a good prisoner.
“He is a good person, and in the prison he does not cause any problems,” he said.
When Mr. Mealaktei was initially removed from his position pending the investigation in February 2015, government spokesman Phay Siphan said the removal was a long time coming, as corruption at the hands of the then-director was well-known.
“A number of people joined together to celebrate the removal of the chief of the Phnom Penh court, and those people told me there was too much corruption there,” he said.
Mr. Siphan also said he wanted every case that had been tried under Mr. Mealaktei’s leadership to be reviewed, because he heard “there were irregularities there.” (A friend of the spokesman had recently been imprisoned in a fraud case.)
Mr. Mealaktei was initially sacked as the municipal court director after Prime Minister Hun Sen accused the court of releasing a husband and wife involved in a high-profile murder case in exchange for a multimillion-dollar bribe.
A military official running the former court director’s security detail has since been jailed for influence-peddling in relation to a bribe allegedly paid by the wife in the murder case.
However, Mr. Sokuntha said Mr. Mealaktei was not being investigated in any other cases.
“He is not involved with other crimes, so he will be released,” he said.