The Appeal Court yesterday turned down a plea by accused Oknha Ho Chamroeun to be freed on bail in a case involving the alleged cheating of two Chinese investors out of $80 million.
Mr Chamroeun, a former lieutenant-general with the Ministry of National Defence, became involved in a dispute over the construction of an international-standard hospital in Takhmao city in Kandal province last year.
The Appeal Court upheld the decision of Phnom Penh Municipal Court in July last year and did not allow him to stay outside the prison as he requested.
Presiding judge Khun Leangmeng said Mr Chamroeun was charged by the prosecutor with fraud. He was sued on June 5 last year by the Chinese investors who were his business partners.
“Based on the hearing and to guarantee the presence of the accused in his coming pre-trial in court, the Appeal Court decided to deny his request,” Judge Leangmeng said. “The Appeal Court will not allow him to stay outside the prison as he has requested.”
He added that the accused was arrested on May 17, 2018. After his arrest, his military position and rank were deleted from the Ministry of Defence by royal decree.
The accused could not be reached for comment on the decision.
According to court documents, in 2016 Mr Chamroeun, who was then a property businessman, had invested in the construction of an international-standard hospital worth more than $200 million with the Chinese investors.
After the agreement on the construction project, in 2017 the plaintiffs sent more than $80 million to Mr Chamroeun for hospital construction costs. But the project never went ahead.
The plaintiffs claimed their money back from the accused but he did not have any money to repay them. To claim for their loses, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against him with the court.
On October 4 last year, Mr Chamroeun was convicted by Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Leang Samnath and sentenced to 18 months in prison in a separate case.
Judge Samnath said the accused was convicted of death threats after firing six bullets into the air while threatening to kill his wife and father-in-law.