A two-star general has appealed for Prime Minister Hun Sen to intervene in a dispute over $50,000 that Council of Ministers Secretary of State Keo Remy loaned to friends of the general in 2009, according to documents obtained Friday.
Mr. Remy loaned the sum to an 18-year-old woman named Lay Sreymach in 2009 to purchase 4,800 square meters of land in Siem Reap province on the condition that she repay him within 45 days.
Mr. Remy claims that Ms. Sreymach’s husband, Ros Sovanveasna, then 29, and Major General Kim Channy, deputy secretary-general at the National Authority for Combating Drugs, underwrote the debt.
Prior to giving the loan, Mr. Remy was shown a document purportedly signed by local authorities in Siem Reap’s Prasat Bakorng district, which noted Ms. Sreymach’s intention to buy the land.
However, when the deadline for repayment passed, and unable to contact any of the three, Mr. Remy became suspicious.
“I went to ask for clarification from local authorities in Prey Kuy village and Ampil commune,” reads a complaint filed with Phnom Penh Municipal Court by Mr. Remy in March 2012.
“The Prey Kuy village chief and the Ampil commune chief confirmed that the letter to occupy the land that was signed [by the chiefs] and provided by Lay Sreymach was fake,” the complaint continues.
Mr. Remy claims that the trio colluded to rob him of the $50,000.
“I request [the court] charge them by the law, I demand the original sum of $50,000 and $10,000 in compensation,” the court filing reads.
To this day, Mr. Remy, who entered politics with Funcinpec before moving to the Sam Rainsy Party and then helping found the Human Rights Party before taking a position with the CPP, says he has not seen a single dollar repaid.
Documents obtained Friday show that Maj. Gen. Channy has now appealed for some of the most powerful men in the country to intervene in the dispute.
A letter dated July 28 and addressed to Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana, along with an August 5 letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly President Heng Samrin, asks for an end to Mr. Remy’s court action against him.
While Mr. Remy claims that the general underwrote Ms. Sreymach’s debt, Maj. Gen. Channy insists that although he was present when the deal was done, he never offered a guarantee.
“I asked for the intervention of Samdech Prime Minister, Samdech President of the National Assembly and the Justice Minister because I want to get justice from the court and I am innocent,” the general said Friday by telephone.
“I am just a witness. I am not the guarantor.”
Maj. Gen. Channy claims that Mr. Remy, along with Chhim Narith—the son of former Phnom Penh governor Chhim Seak Leng—and his wife On Somealea, colluded to frame him.
“It is a premeditated plan of Keo Remy’s group to hurt me,” he said. “They want to profit from me, so they have cheated me.”
Maj. Gen. Channy also said that offers to pay the loan back in installments were refused by Mr. Remy.
“Ros Sovanveasna and his family actually negotiated with Keo Remy to pay back the money step by step but Keo Remy did not agree,” the general said.
“He [Mr. Remy] insisted that Ros Sovanveasna pay back in one sum and that we all go to jail.”
Contacted Friday, Mr. Remy claimed that he was a poor man and questioned the motives behind Maj. Gen. Channy’s counter-claim, which has become a hurdle in his bid to recoup the $50,000.
“I don’t know why [Maj. Gen. Channy] has come to interrupt me like this, I think that maybe there is something else behind it,” he said.
“I am a victim, I never have bad ideas about anyone,” he added. “Please, investigate me, I do not even own enough land to bury my dead body in the future.”