Four officials face potential prison terms of between three and seven years
Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court yesterday charged Lieutenant General Moek Dara, one of the country’s top narcotics officials, and fellow anti-drug officer Lieutenant Colonel Chea Leang with corruption, officials said.
As part of the same investigation, the court on Friday also charged former Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Hun Hean and his deputy, Chheang Son, with extortion.
Lt Gen Dara was in detention at Prey Sar Prison in Phnom Penh, while Lt Col Leang was being held in Banteay Meanchey Provincial Prison, each charged with corruption under the former Untac penal code, said deputy prosecutor Tan Seithak Dechak.
“Both could be placed in prison for between three to seven years as well as seriously fined if a judge finds them guilty,” said Mr Seithak Dechak.
“Please give time for the court to investigate on this because there are many corruption cases involved.”
Lt Gen Dara is secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, while Lt Col Leang is head of one of the offices at the ministry’s narcotics bureau.
Extortion under the former penal code is punishable by three to seven years in prison and a penalty doubling the money or value of property taken.
Mr Seithak Dechak said he did not remember the value of the alleged bribes.
Mr Hean and Mr Son are in detention at Siem Reap Provincial Prison after also being charged with corruption, according to officials.
“We already charged them for taking bribes and decided to place them in prison under the court’s supervision,” Judge Theam Chanpiseth said.
Nhim Seila, deputy military police commander for the province, said the pair was in detention at Siem Reap prison.
Kheng Sum, formerly the deputy police chief of Siem Reap province, said he was appointed yesterday to replace Mr Hean as Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief in a ceremony presided over in the provincial capital by National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun.
Mr Hean and Mr Son were removed from their posts Jan 7 by order of Interior Minister Sar Kheng.
“I will just try the best to perform the job,” Mr Sum said.
Lt Gen Dara and the other three officials charged since Friday were allegedly implicated in corruption by the confession of jailed man Lim Map, the former Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief, according to Mr Seithak Dechak.
Mr Map, who has yet to be tried, was charged in July with possession of drugs and counterfeit currency.
The Interior Ministry and the Anticorruption Unit have both been involved in the investigation of Lt Gen Dara and the other three officials.
Lt Gen Dara and Lt Col Leang were each detained Jan 12, while Mr Hean and Mr Son have been in custody since Jan 10.