Former Official Appeals Bribery Conviction Linked to PM’s Cousin

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The Supreme Court in 2022. (Hean Rangsey/VOD)
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A former ministry official convicted in 2011 for bribery appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court on Friday, with the defense questioning evidence used to prosecute him.

Seng Yean, 63, is the former deputy director-general of inspection at the Ministry of National Assembly, Senate Relations and Inspection. He was fired in 2010 from his job after an internal investigation found he had accepted bribes from Dy Proem, a businesswoman and Hun Sen’s cousin. 

Proem allegedly bribed Yean to make a deed for land that belonged to a widow. The two were convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in 2011, with Yean sentenced to four years and six months in prison and fined $40,000, and Proem was given a 30-month sentence. 

However, neither ever went to prison. In 2013, Proem was even given the honorary title of oknha.

By September 2021, ten years after the convictions, the Appeal Court upheld Yean’s sentence but dropped Proem to a two-year suspended sentence, according to local news outlet CEN.

Supreme Court prosecutor Pen Sarath said the Appeal Court’s ruling was based on the evidence and the prosecution wanted the judges to uphold the sentences. 

Defense lawyer Hong Chansokha said the lower courts had only used testimonies from government investigators and a document that had Yean’s signature on it. 

Chansokha said the court did not consider testimonies from other witnesses and did not do a forensic analysis of the document with Yean’s signature. 

Yean, who said he had never been jailed in the case, agreed with his lawyer’s arguments.

He added that he followed the laws and procedures and all reports of his work were sent to the ministry. “I had no right to decide anything,” he said.

A verdict is expected on August 26.

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