KPP leadership row erupts

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Former Khmer Power Party president Sourn Serey Ratha gets out of a police vehicle following his arrest in August last year. Photo supplied

Former Khmer Power Party (KPP) president Sourn Serey Ratha has sent a letter to Interior Minister Sar Kheng, asking the government to temporarily suspend the party’s activities on grounds that there was fraudulent use of his thumbprint while he was in prison.

However, the current KPP president Soung Sophorn denied the allegation.

Srey Ratha has asked that the party’s documents be examined and Sophorn be probed over his claims.

“[I] request the Ministry of Interior to suspend all Khmer Power Party’s activities temporarily and examine the documents,” read the letter signed by Serey Ratha on September 10 and obtained by The Post on Tuesday.

Serey Ratha claims he never resigned from his post as the party’s president, but only agreed to have Sophorn act as president and manage day-to-day tasks while he was incarcerated.

“Soung Sophorn forged my signature and produced a fake resignation letter in order to lie to the party’s members, founders, members of political council and local council members.

“He sent [fake] letters to the Ministry of Interior, and organised two party congresses to take control of the KPP,” Serey Ratha said.

He further asserted that Sophorn appointed two new vice presidents, changed the party’s logo and amended its legal statutes.

In response, Sophorn claimed he was legally the president of the KPP and had support from members and supporters across the country.

Sophorn claimed that when Serey Ratha “became a criminal”, the ministry demanded that the party enlist new management. It then organised a congress which agreed to appoint him as the new president. He said he had seen Serey Ratha’s letter to the ministry.

“This is just a request. The ministry has not responded yet. I read the letter’s contents which accused me of forgery. I will ask him where the forged letter is when I see him in the future."

“What evidence suggested that I faked the letter? If the evidence exists, I am willing to resign as president. The accusation is not true,” Sophorn said.

Chhim Kan, director of the ministry’s Department of Associations and Political Affairs, said he has not received the letter from Serey Ratha as yet.

“I have not received a letter from Serey Ratha. However, after I receive it, my team will investigate, I cannot answer because I do not understand what Serey Ratha is requesting from the ministry,” Kan said.

On August 14 last year, the court charged Serey Ratha for inciting military personnel to disobey, demoralising the army and incitement to commit a felony after he posted on Facebook about the Kindom’s soldiers’ skirmishes on the border with Laos.

Serey Ratha was freed late last month in an unprecedented spate of royal pardons for opposition activists.