The president of the Khmer Power Party on Friday filed a complaint to Phnom Penh Municipal Court against former party president Sourn Serey Ratha for defamation and demanded $10,000 in compensation.
Soung Sophorn has accused Mr Serey Ratha of saying that he forged documents to take power of the party.
Mr Serey Ratha is also accused of saying that the party has wrongfully banned him from membership.
Mr Serey Ratha on September 10 submitted a letter to the Interior Ministry asking it to temporarily suspend the party’s activities and inspect a document from September 2017 allegedly forged by Mr Sophorn to appoint himself as president without consent.
In the court complaint, Mr Sophorn said Mr Serey Ratha officially resigned from his position when he was in jail after being convicted of inciting military personnel disobedience and demoralising the army.
Mr Sophorn said Mr Serey Ratha was legitimately stripped of his party presidency due to having a conviction against him.
Mr Sophorn added he was legally appointed president of the KPP and had support from members and supporters across the country.
“The KPP could have been dissolved if Mr Serey Ratha did not resign at that time,” Mr Sophorn said. “The law indicates that a convict cannot be involved in politics.”
“I have evidence such as sound clips and documents that show Mr Serey Ratha agreed to resign from the party presidency and I will reveal it to the judge,” he added.
Mr Serey Ratha received a royal pardon and was released from jail last month, and is now claiming that he only stepped down temporarily and wants the leadership role back.
“It’s clear that Mr Sophorn tried to steal KPP from me during my incarceration,” he said. “Now he refuses to reinstate me. He is a former opposition CNRP supporter and now he thinks I am a CPP supporter because of my royal pardon.”
Mr Serey Ratha added that Mr Sophorn appointed two new vice presidents, changed the party’s logo and amended its legal statutes when he was imprisoned.
Pen Seab, a former KPP deputy president recently ousted by Mr Sophorn, said he supports Mr Serey Ratha’s position.
“I support Mr Serey Ratha, and Mr Sophorn forged documents to oust me from the party in order to form a new group,” he said. “He is clearly faking documents just to be in charge of the party.”