August 7, 2022

Plaintiffs heard in Beehive embezzlement suit

An investigating judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday questioned three officials from activist radio station owner Mam Sonando’s Beehive Social Democratic Party regarding their suit against Sonando for alleged embezzlement of party funds.

Court clerk Sok Sothea said yesterday that investigating judge Ly Sok Leng had completed his questioning of party vice president Heang Rithy, secretary-general Nhem Bunthan and deputy secretary-general Heang Kimsroeun, who are seeking the dissolution of the recently resurrected party.

“Their questioning is now finished, and the investigating judge will summon Mr Mam Sonando to explain about this case next week,” he said.

Sok Leng could not be reached for comment.

Rithy, the plaintiffs’ representative, told reporters yesterday that, in addition to the disbanding of the party, the three are seeking a temporary suspension of the party’s activities and are asking that the court seize the funds Sonando allegedly embezzled and donate them to the poor.

“The reason we have requested the court to dissolve the Beehive Social Democratic Party is that we do not want to see people cheated by the politician Mr Mam Sonando, who is a fake democrat and a corrupt man,” he said.

“He took generous donations from people abroad that they provided to him to give to the poor . . . [and used them] to buy his houses and lands.”

Rithy said the group is also considering filing a separate complaint to the Anti-Corruption Unit.

Sonando and his lawyer could not be reached for comment yesterday, but in an interview last week, he denied the allegations and threatened to countersue if the case “affected my honour”.