Officials Mum on Pursat Prosecutor’s Arrest

Officials last night could not confirm a report that Pursat Provincial Court chief prosecutor Tob Chan Sereivuth and his two bodyguards had been charged with corruption, illegal detention and extortion.

Anticorruption Unit officials arrested Mr Chan Sereivuth and his two bodyguards in Pursat City early Monday morning, but officials from the new graft fighting body have not yet divulged the reasons behind the arrests.

Nget Theavy, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, monitored proceedings outside the Pursat Provincial Court yesterday afternoon. She said she was told by a witness inside the court that the three men had been questioned by Judge Kol Kampol before being charged.

“The three of them were charged with three cases: the first was corruption, the second was illegal detention and the third was for extorting money,” Ms Theavy claimed, adding that the three were then sent from the court to Pursat Provincial Prison.

ACU chairman Om Yentieng, who personally headed up the squad who arrested Mr Chan Sereivuth and his associates, could not be reached last night to confirm that charges had been laid. Judge Kampol could not be reached either.

While he was unable to provide details about their cases, Pursat Provincial Prison chief Nguon Lay confirmed last night that Mr Chan Sereivuth and his two bodyguards had been delivered to the prison by Mr Yentieng yesterday evening.

“I received them from His Excellency Om Yentieng around 6:10 pm. Ex-chief prosecutor Tob Chan Sereivuth stays with one other prisoner and his two bodyguards stay in separate cells with three other prisoners in each,” Mr Lay said.

Pursat Provincial Court deputy prosecutor You Yinny declined to comment about the case when contacted last night. “We have no right to report to the press when we have not yet reported to our superiors,” Mr Yinny said.

Pursat governor Khoy Sokha said he had no information about the case, as provincial officials had not been involved in the investigation. “[The ACU officials] are independent. We are not involved with their task,” he said.

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