Kompong Speu Provincial Court Prosecutor Kong Set testified Wednesday at the disciplinary council of the Supreme Council of Magistracy over accusations against him, including extortion and corruption, Appeal Court Prosecutor-General Hanrot Raken said.
In December, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana called for the suspension of Kong Set following complaints that he was involved in illegal logging and an extortion racket, but the justice minister said it would be up to the disciplinary council.
Hanrot Raken, one of the seven members of the disciplinary council, said that the hearing would take only one day to complete, but that the findings would not be made public.
“There is a meeting at 3 pm about the case of Kong Set,” Hanrot Raken said. “The result will be today [Wednesday], but I can not say anything.”
He declined to say why the council’s ruling must be kept confidential.
On Dec 5, the Justice Ministry handed the disciplinary council the findings of an investigation into complaints against the prosecutor. According to a copy of those findings, inspectors found nine irregularities in Kong Set’s capacity as a prosecutor, including the wrongful release of suspects, the improper charging of police officials and the extortion of monthly kickbacks of between $25 and $50 from unlicensed gasoline vendors.
The report also states that Kong Set ordered an Environment Ministry official to allow the transportation of 27 cubic meters of illegally logged timber from the Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary, which was then used in the construction of the prosecutor’s house in Phnom Penh.
Meas Nhim, former director at Phnom Aural and a current deputy director of the Environment Ministry’s protected area department, on Wednesday also called for Kong Set’s removal.
“The [Environment] Ministry asks that he be removed,” Meas Nhim said. “We are waiting for the council to find justice for the Environment Ministry and the people.”
Kong Set said he was too busy to talk Wednesday; however, on Monday, he once again denied the accusations against him, saying that Environment Ministry officials had filed complaints against him in revenge for bringing charges against them.
“They just accused without having evidence,” Kong Set said.