Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week summoned opposition leader Sam Rainsy for questioning regarding a complaint filed earlier this year by the Interior Ministry, which said his party had failed to submit its 2006 annual report on time, according to court documents.
“We order Sam Rainsy to Phnom Penh Municipal Court to respond to the allegations on June 22 at 2 pm,” read a June 6 summons signed by deputy prosecutor Hing Bunchea. Mr Bunchea could not be reached yesterday.
Police Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said yesterday that the ministry had lodged a complaint last month alleging that the SRP violated the law by submitting an annual report late.
The report details party financial activities and by law must be sent to the ministries of Finance and Interior by Dec 31 of each year, failing which parties are liable to fines of 3 million riel, or about $750.
“The Sam Rainsy Party had violated the law and did not respect the order of the Ministry of Interior,” Lt Gen Sopheak said yesterday. When asked why the ministry waited more than four years to file the suit, Lt Gen Sopheak declined to comment.
SRP spokesman and lawmaker Yim Sovann said yesterday that the case was absurd, claiming the party was only two days late submitting its report.
“It is very ridiculous that the Ministry of Interior has sued the SRP accusing it of not sending its 2006 report in. We sent it to the ministry late by only two days.”
Mr Sovann said the SRP did not yet have a lawyer to represent the party in the case, but that the party planned to sue Interior Minister Sar Kheng for defamation if the ministry failed to withdraw the lawsuit.
“We know that it is a defamation case. This was brought by the CPP’s Ministry of the Interior against the SRP. We will not pay this fine, and we will sue them back for defamation.”