From Prey Sar Prison Briton Greg Fryett writes today to complain against Cambodian justice.
|Pic: Ke Kim Yan and Hun Sen|
He has been banged up there for over a year after being arrested in connection with a Cambodian land deal. And the charges have been piling up.
Apparently he was sitting in a café in Phnom Penh last year talking to a judge, when police carrying an arrest warrant issued by another judge dragged him off.
Fryett is the boss of Sustainable Agro Energy.
He had allegedly bought land from the wife of Ke Kim Yan, the country’s former military Commander in Chief, but the whole deal was corrupt – not from the Cambodian side you understand. It was allegedly corrupt on Fryett’s side.
Fryett from Torquay has been banged up for the best part of a year and while one can commiserate with anyone unfortunate enough to be in a Cambodian jail it appears there are many in England who really do not care. Fryett bought the land in Cambodia to begin a jatropha plantation from which he could extract bio-fuel.
And, just like Roscoe Maloney at Touchwood who bought land there to plant agar wood, a lot of people have been chasing Fryett for the return of their life savings.
Police have already arrested several alleged co-conspirators – and it looks like Substainable Aggro Energy may have fleeced people for as much as £52million.
Fryett’s says he returned to Cambodia after being given immunity from prosecution but all his adversaries are corrupt. Apparently he was not allowed to join the same club.
If and when he gets out the Serious Fraud Office who have been responsible for the arrest of several of his partners in Britain, will want to talk to him. Here follows his letter.
“It is with great concern that I must bring the following information to your attention.
In January 2013, two American nationals were arrested and held under the instruction of Judge Ang Mealtey further to the instructions of Prosecutor Pham Vanroth at the Bantay Meachey Court of First Instance in Cambodia. In March 2013, the chairman and major shareholder, Gregg Thomas Fryett was also arrested and detained at Prey Sar prison despite assurances of safe conduct. They remain in prison to this day.
The case alleged was based on a complaint from Van Sophana, the Forestry Department Chief covering North Tonle Sap area. The Chief has written a complaint which is not in his jurisdictional area and without the knowledge or authority of his superiors. Chief Van claimed that AMC Ltd and IGE had illegally cleared land and used forged documents. There was no formal process for the complaint including authority from MAFF or the Governor or indeed the jurisdictional Forestry Department Office of Bantay Meachay which renders the complaint unauthorised.
– The land has been cleared prior to 2006 and was the responsibility of AMC and YLP who both belong to the sellers.
– The sellers are powerful people in Cambodia (Deputy Prime Minister Kee Kim Yan) and have not been called to court to answer questions or be held in pre trial detention the same as the ‘buyers’ despite being named in court papers as a defendant.
– there are no original documents to support any forgery allegations and the paperwork was provided by the sellers as evidenced by the judge in his closing statement.
There is also; an incomplete investigation with the real land owners and sellers not being called to give evidence with regard to the land they have rights to and which they are selling to Mr Fryett and his companies. There is also judicial obstruction, evidence tampering, false translations, numerous procedural issues and a clear intent to convict the defendants’ regardless of process or evidence as detailed within the legal opinion and closing statement analysis below”.
“In July 2012, the Provincial Governor Ung Ouerm wrote to the Prime Minister Hun Sen alleging that the INVESTIGATING JUDGE, FORESTRY DEPARTMENT CHIEF, PROSECUTOR AND SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER YIM CHHAY LY have all colluded in corrupt actions to steal the agricultural equipment (value approx $850,000) and block the transfer of the land to the buyers (who hold enforceable contracts) and who now languish in jail while the sellers do not even answer questions for the court.
The Prime Minister instructed the ACU to implement the Governor’s instructions which was to remove all the officials from office and begin legal proceedings against them. The ACU (Anti Corruption Unit) did not act as instructed as they have a long and established relationship with the investigating judge Ang Mealtey.
The prosecution have put in place not one but four cases against the defendants to try and manufacture a conviction without evidence, justification or due process. They are doing so for their own personal benefit and for the powerful people behind them.
The point of the criminal case is to block the clear civil case claim that the defendants have over the land and agricultural equipment worth millions of dollars. The judge is therefore acting for and on behalf of the land seller beyond his powers and jurisdiction in a transparent and evidenced corrupt act as described in the Governor’s report to the Prime Minister in July 2012.
All three defendants have been held in detention since their incarceration having had bail refused on several occasions with the last joint application being July 27th 2014 and for Mr Ourm and Mr Souem separately on the 4th of September 2014.
There have been some 18 defence filings rejecting the allegations, asking for the judge to be disqualified as he is of course heavily conflicted thanks to the governor’s report to the Prime Minister and asking for a complete and transparent investigation which will bring all the facts of the case to the court.
This will expose the corruption completely of the prosecution and also the land seller who have a reputation for incomplete land transactions and violence and intimidation against anyone who dares to challenge them. The seller is Deputy Prime Minister Kee Kim Yan, the ex-head of the Military and now head of the Drug Enforcement Agency.
His wife, Madam Mao Malay is party to the contracts through two companies, AMC and YLP Ltd, the later a partner with Indonesian Conglomerate Ciputra involved in the $750m Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club development. Every action and demand for the sellers to be treated in the same way as the defendants have been blocked by the judge and prosecutor.
In all it is very clear that;
1. the judge and entire prosecution team have acted outrageously and abusively for their own benefit upon the instructions of the land owner, a senior government official.
2. That the arrest and detention of the defendants is nothing short of kidnap and extortion.
3. The continued detention is very much in contravention of the laws and regulations of Cambodia as well as international conventions for law and human rights.
4. That there has been absolutely no due process of the Court procedures or subsequent accountability for this blatant corruption to the Appeal or Supreme Courts at this time by the Municipal Court and its president.
I apologise for the direct plagiarising of the Lawyer Rights Watch (Canada) letter dated September 2nd 2014 about detention of parties involved with another land dispute below with the original document available here:
Directly because of its authors LRWC, this letter and case further adds creditability to the points raised about the arguably unlawful detention and continual detention of the people in this case.
The international legal obligations of Cambodia concerning pre-trial release and fair trial rights are well documented. All arrested persons are entitled to the presumption of innocence and to release pending trial in accordance with provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Cambodia is a party.
The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 11. (1) and guaranteed by the ICCPR (Article 14.(2)). Freedom from arbitrary detention and the right to pre-trial release is recognized by Articles 3 and 9 of the UDHR and guaranteed by Article 14. (2) of the ICCPR.
These provisions of the UDHR and the ICCPR prohibit pre-trial detention except when detention is both necessary and the only means to protect public safety, ensure attendance in court and/or prevent interference with evidence. Cambodia’s Constitution specifically guarantees recognition and respect for the UDHR and the ICCPR, and states in Article 38 that accused persons “shall be considered innocent until the court has judged finally on the case.” Cambodia’s Code of Criminal Procedure. Article 203, confirms these principles and must be read in conformity with the UDHR and the ICCPR.
The lawyers representing the defendants are aware of no allegations or evidence provided to the court of any lawful reason for continued detention of those arrested on 17th January 2013 or 23rd March 2013, and they should have been released immediately. Indeed the unauthorised nature of all the allegations and cases coupled with the clear corruption identified by the Provincial Governor AGAINST the investigating Judge alone is more than enough grounds to demonstrate that this is not justifiable use of Judicial authority and resources or for that matter of Government office authority. This in turn and by reasonable extension suggests that the defendants have been kidnapped for ransom (extortion).
These defendants (and all land rights activists and other human rights defenders) are entitled to conduct peaceful business (human rights advocacy) and to be protected from all forms of retaliation including arbitrary arrest and detention, malicious prosecution and judicial harassment. The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted 9 December 1998 by consensus of the member States of the United Nations General Assembly, states that:
“everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels” (Article 12.1);
“everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” (Article 1);
“the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.” (Article 12.2)
The prosecution of these defendants and their commercial rights as with the five land rights activists mentioned within the LRWC letter contravenes domestic and international law obligations and constitutes a misuse of criminal law to prohibit and punish lawful recovery of contracted and paid for assets, limit the subsequent protest and actions to recover said assets through civil action and has provided commercial actors with unlawful advantages.
The LRWC letter demonstrates that the courts are more than comfortable being used as a tool of business and corruption for powerful people. This example and the LRWC demonstrate this. There exist three more current cases known to the author where the courts act not as directed by the constitution or Code of Criminal Procedures but on behalf of powerful parties through manipulation of the laws and the power of their position in office.
The full analysis of the case is within the legal opinion which covers 200 pages of primary analysis and evidence. It was compiled by H.E. Oknha David Chanaiwa Esq. JD. He is a USA trained attorney who has a PHD in law, has advised the USA senior courts as well as being appointed as advisor to the Cambodian Senate.
You can download the Legal Opinion from the following link
The Governor Report to the Prime Minister can be recovered below:
There are several other filings which demonstrate the procedural irregularities as well as corruption. They can be found at the link below:
(Attention is drawn to 06, 08, 09 &10 particularly)
The defendants’ and defence attorneys have all faced intimidation and direct threats as well as real and ongoing hardship.
This letter serves to make a matter of record the facts in the case and calls upon the Embassies of the UK and USA to make timely and determined inquires as to:
1. Why there has been no clear due process and fair trail for the defendants conforming to the Cambodian Constitution, the Code of Criminal Procedures and international conventions to which Cambodia is a party?
2. Why these foreign nationals have been arrested and detained for over 17 months without trial, beyond the lawful scope of any recognised detention legislation and upon the instructions of individuals from the senior judiciary and government offices who are themselves accused of corruption by a Senior Government Official and therefore heavily conflicted?
3. Why has the Appeal Court, which has had sight of all the primary evidence of corruption and misconduct through the March 6th 2014 ‘Annul, Refuse and Disqualify’ Filing failed to make any discernable changes to the case as is their primary role and judiciail process responsibility?
4. Why the Anti-Corruption Unit has not carried out the instructions of the Prime Minister further to the Governor’s report which included the removal from office of the investigating judge, the Forestry Department Chief and the prosecutor? The report also called for legal action against the fourth corrupt government official.
5. Why the clear investment interests of numerous UK and international investors have not been protected under Cambodian laws?
6. To ascertain exactly the roles played by the UK SFO and court appointed receiver in the unlawful dissemination of misleading information leading to the false money laundering charges and likely significant contribution to the arrest of Mr Fryett and continued detention of Messers Ourm and Soeum?
7. Why the receiver has not taken the primary position of recovery of creditors assets in Cambodia for 2.5 years which would in turn remove all the criminal allegations as the evidence would be forced into the open court about the real status of the land and paperwork?
We acknowledge that the UK FCO have informed us that they have written to the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs with regard to ascertaining answers as to the status of the defendants. We believe the USA embassy has also made enquiries. This demonstrates a level of concern already that the embassies have with the process of these cases.
We would ask that further and more conserted approaches are made by both embassies, particularly in light of the evidence within the legal opinion, as to the genuine legal and political position with regard to arrest and detention of these individuals as quickly as practicable. Physical and mental torture through imprisonment as well as increasing intimidation of the lawyers and defendants is escalating.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.
Chairman of Sustainable Growth Group.
#GregFryett #SustaunableAgroEnergy #KeKimYan