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Official jailed for contract fraud

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Soeum Angkeareasey leaves the court wearing a mask. Supplied

A former senior government official with the Ministry of Public Works was convicted yesterday for pocketing nearly $60,000 in fees meant for a building contractor.

The money was collected in connection with construction of a district administrative office in Koh Kong province in 2015.

However, the money was not passed on.

Soeum Angkeareasey, 43, former deputy chief of the ministry’s machinery office, went on trial yesterday for a second time.

He was convicted in absentia by Phnom Penh Municipal Court in April and sentenced to two years in prison.

The court ordered him to pay $57,250 in damages and $3,000 in compensation to plaintiff Sem Vannak.

A retrial was held yesterday after Mr Angkeareasey, who was charged with breach of trust, said he did not know about his trial and had never received any summons from the court.

Judge San Sophath said yesterday that based on the latest hearing, the court’s April judgement was right.

“Therefore, the court has decided to uphold it,” he said.

He said Mr Angkeareasey could appeal against the judgement within 30 days if he did not agree with it.

Court documents say Mr Angkeareasey signed on behalf of his ministry an agreement on construction of the administrative office in Thmar Baing district by Sem Vannak for a total of $57,250.

But Mr Angkeareasey did not hand over the money on completion of the building, and Mr Vannak filed a lawsuit against Mr Angkeareasey early this year.

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