Former Takeo provincial governor Lay Vannak, who has been jailed over the murder of his mistress, has been booted from the CPP.
According to a letter obtained yesterday, the CPP’s Permanent Committee on April 18 stripped Mr Vannak of his party membership.
“The Permanent Committee has decided to remove Lay Vannak from membership in the Cambodian People’s Party,” Say Chhum, vice president of the CPP, said in the letter.
On April 3, Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged Mr Vannak and former deputy provincial police chief Lay Narith with murder over the killing of the former governor’s mistress, whose death was covered up as a suicide.
Ly Sophanna, spokesman for the court, said at the time that Mr Vannak and his older brother Mr Narith were charged with murder over the killing of Chev Sovathana, whose body was found by her maid hanging dead in her rental room in Daun Keo city on January 26.
Mr Sophanna added that two out of four other suspects linked to the case were also charged, while the others were released.
Men Samay, Mr Vannak’s driver, and Choem Vuth, the maid’s husband, were charged with concealment of evidence, according to Mr Sophanna.
Mr Vannak and Mr Narith face ten to 15 years in prison, while Mr Vuth and Mr Samay face one to three years in prison if convicted.
Daun Keo city police chief Chhay Savuth said in January that Ms Sovathana had killed herself, noting that officers suspected she was involved in a love affair based upon a letter found by her body.
After her funeral, the victim’s family raised concerns that the case may not have been a suicide and local news reports published their claims.
A resulting police investigation snared Mr Vannak and his brother, along with their accomplices.
Sok Eysan, spokesman for the CPP, said yesterday that the committee was following party rules by stripping the former governor of his membership.
“When someone has committed a serious offence and is charged by the court, we have to remove them from our party,” Mr Eysan said. “We cannot let the acts of a single person affect the reputation of the party.”
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the CPP was within its rights to boot Mr Vannak from its ranks.
“The statutes of a party or organisation or company say that membership will be removed automatically when they commit unlawful acts,” Mr Chey said.
Mr Vannak, who became Takeo governor in 2014 after working as an official with the Council of Ministers, first made headlines in 2012 after police said he shot a karaoke parlour owner in the foot during a night of drinking.