Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a 29-year-old former government official over the forging of vehicle number plates, driving licenses and cheating money from a man who bought his car.
Presiding Judge Koy Sao identified the accused as Soy Tola, a 29-year-old former government official who worked with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
Judge Sao said that Mr Tola was charged with fraud and forgery of public documents, noting that he faces five to 10 years in prison if convicted. The accused was arrested on October 23 following a complaint filed by Chab Yeth.
Judge Sao noted that on July 22 last year, Mr Tola sold his Camry for $8,500 to Mr Yeth.
He noted that Mr Yeth paid a deposit of $5,500 and promised to pay the remaining amount after he received the documents for the car from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
Judge Sao noted that on August 22, Mr Tola gave the car documents to Mr Yeth, who had paid the remaining amount.
Judge Sao said that on September 2, Mr Yeth took his car to apply for an inspection at the inspection department in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
However, he noted that inspection officials denied to issue the documents to him after they discovered that the number plate and license were fake.
Judge Sao said that after Mr Yeth found out that Mr Tola had given him forged documents, he wanted to return the car and claim his money back. However, Mr Tola refused to return his money.
Judge Sao said Mr Yeth filed a complaint against Mr Tola to the Interior Ministry’s penal police department.
“He cheated money from the victim,” Judge Sao said. “He forged the number plate of the car and driving license.”
He added that Mr Tola was arrested on October 23 and police seized a total of 34 forged driving licenses as well as other forged documents from him.
During yesterday’s trial, Mr Tola denied the allegations. He told the court that the car he sold to Mr Yeth was purchased from Pov Veasna, the previous owner of the car who lives in Pursat province.
Mr Tola said that after buying it, he changed the machine before selling it to Mr Yeth. He said that he did not forge the car documents.
“I did not know that the car’s number plate and license were forged because I have also applied for them from other high-ranking officials in charge of making and issuing documents in the ministry,” Mr Tola said. “I found out about it after the victim returned the car to me and asked for his money back after he had used it for more than three months.”
The accused said that he did not return the money because the car was broken when the victim wanted to return it.
He requested the judge to drop the charge and release him from prison.
A verdict is due on June 26.