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Top officials on trial over forgery

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
The two officials accused of forging public documents in a land deal arrive at the municipal court. Postnews

A former military official with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit and a former commune official in Kampot province were yesterday tried by Phnom Penh Municipal Court for trying to forge public documents and cheat a property businesswoman in 2013 during a $800,000 land deal.

Presiding Judge Koy Sao identified the two accused as Sun Seang, 48, a former military official with Mr Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit and Heng San, 45, a former commune official in Kampot province.

Judge Sao said both men were charged with forgery of public documents, use of forged public documents, and fraud, adding that they face two to five years in prison if convicted.

They were arrested on January 12 in Phnom Penh after being sued by Nop Mao, 46, a property businesswoman, the judge noted.

Ms Mao said that in 2013, she contacted and purchased a total of 8,500 hectares of land in Kampot’s Chhouk district from the two accused, who were land brokers and were also high-ranking offcials.

She said that to buy the land, she paid a booking fee of $50,000 to them. After that she paid another $750,000.

“But after they received the money, they did not have any land for me. They forged villagers’ thumbprints on fake land documents and sold the wind to me,” she said.

Ms Mao said that since they had no land for her, she wanted her money back. The money has not yet been returned, she said, adding that she also wants $3 million in compensation.

During yesterday’s trial, the two accused denied the allegations.

They said the person who cheated and took the money from the plaintiff was another property businessman named Neak Voleak, who died in a traffic accident last year.

They said they were just the middle men who worked for Mr Voleak. They requested the court drop the charges and release them.

“I did not commit any thing as accused or related with this case. Please drop the charge,” Mr Seang said.

Deputy prosecutor Che Song said that the two accused were involved with the case because they worked in tandem with the now-deceased Mr Voleak.

“Although they deny the allegations, they do not have any real evidence to show the court,” he said. “As the prosecutor, I would like to uphold their charges and punish them by the law.”

A verdict is due on April 27.

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