Supreme Court Clerk Arrested for Corruption

A Supreme Court clerk in charge of criminal cases was arrested on Friday and charged with corruption, abuse of power and misappropriation of public funds, a court spokesman said on Sunday.

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said there was “nothing surprising” about the case.

Motorists drive past the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh on Sunday. (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)
Motorists drive past the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh on Sunday. (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)

Officials were tight-lipped about what the 30-year-old clerk Vat Visith had done. Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) Chairman Om Yentieng said only that the crime involved money and that the suspect had been charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“After questioning, we detained him,” Mr. Yentieng said. “He did corruption, so everything was involved with money, and we took action. We have the corruption law, so we can take action against this person.”

Pressed on what Mr. Visith stood accused of doing, Mr. Yentieng declined to answer. “Your questions are digging too much. We have a right to keep information too, so please ask the court prosecutors.”

Ly Sophanna, spokesman for the municipal court prosecutors, also declined to reveal specifics about what crimes Mr. Visith was suspected of committing.

“After they finished questioning him, and reviewing the documents and the evidence in the case, the prosecutor of the municipal court opened an investigation and charged Vat Visith with misappropriation of public funds,” he said.

Mr. Sophanna said that the official was also charged under articles 32 and 35 of the anti-corruption law, which deal with corruption and abuse of power.

Mr. Malin, the Justice Ministry spokesman, said only that it was nothing new for a court official to be arrested for corruption.

“It’s nothing surprising, because in the past there have also been lawyers, prosecutors and judges arrested for involvement in corruption,” Mr. Malin said.

Poly Oudom, spokesman for the Pailin Provincial Court, where Mr. Visith worked for about a month in 2014 before moving to the Supreme Court, said he was surprised to hear of his colleague’s arrest.

“When he was a clerk in Pailin, he never made any mistakes or did bad things,” he said.

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