Wednesday, December 14, 2011

By Buth Reaksmey Kongkea

A former Cambodian ambassador to Brunei convicted of stealing more than $US430,000 in connection with money intended for the building of a new embassy office was sentenced in absentia on Friday to four years in prison.

Judge Kor Vandy of Phnom Penh Municipal Court said that former ambassador and Funcinpec lawmaker Nan Sy, 48, would also be fined eight million riel, or about $2,000, in addition to the prison term.

Ky Tech, a lawyer for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, which launched the initial complain, said he appreciated the court’s decision. “I think that the court’s verdict is acceptable, and I was pleased as the court has found justice for my client,” he told the Post yesterday, adding that Nan Sy had been expelled from his ambassador position on May 11 after the embezzlement became known.

In 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation sent a large amount of money to Nan Sy via the embassy’s bank account in order to construct a Cambodian embassy office in Brunei.

In May, when a Brunei Construction Company executive sent a bill seeking final payment on the project, an audit was launched revealing the embezzlement of $432,876.65, Ky Tech said.

In addition to the criminal case, a civil suit is now pending, though a date has not been set yet for trial.

“For the civil case, I would like to ask the court to force him return $432, 876.65 to the Ministry, and ask him to pay 200 million riel [$49,600] in compensation,” Ky Tech said. “I would also like to ask the court to strongly punish him by the laws.”

Nan Sy and his defense lawyer, Keo Ya, could not reached for comment. However, during Nan Sy’s trial on November 2, Keo Ya denied the allegations against his client, saying there was no real proof.

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