Court Clerks Transferred in Corruption Inquiry

Seven municipal court clerks were transferred from their positions Monday in wake of an investigation by the Ministry of Justice into alleged court corruption, officials said Tuesday.

“They are the secretaries in­volved in the cases [under investigation]. They have been moved to other jobs until the Supreme Council of Magistracy decides what to do,” said Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara. He said the clerks were assigned other work at the Justice Ministry.

Justice Secretary of State Suy Nou, who heads the investigation committee, on Tuesday confirm­ed the clerks had been transferred but declined to comment.

Justice Minister Uk Vithun could not be reached for comment. Earlier this month, he suspended Municipal Court Director Oum Sarith and chief prosecutor Kann Chheoun pending the completion of the investigation.

Suy Nou said the investigation into alleged court corruption is complete but that the findings would not be available until after the New Year. But he did say that the committee found “mistakes” had been made in the majority of the 50 court cases scrutinized.

“Some were intentional [mistakes] and others were unintentional…I will send the report [of each case] to the minister after we have finished it,” he said.

Uk Vithun has said previously that the Supreme Council of Magistracy will review the findings and decide on possible disciplinary action.

Chea Sophara launched the crackdown several weeks ago with allegations that 66 suspects or criminals were released early by court officials in exchange for bribes. Prime Minister Hun Sen followed with a directive to rearrest all criminals and suspects released early by the courts.

Rights workers argue that the rearrests violated constitutional rights.

 

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