A military officer and land dealer went on trial yesterday on fraud charges for allegedly cheating a client out of about $60,000 in a 2012 deal gone wrong in Kandal province.
Presiding Judge Sour Linna identified the officer as Lieutenant Colonel Ouk Rann, 56, who was sued by Taing Yim, 48, in 2014 over the 2012 land deal.
Mr Yim testified yesterday that he purchased three plots of lands totalling five hectares in Kandal Province’s Kandal Stung district for $50,000 from Lt Col Rann in 2012.
Mr Yim said that after purchasing the land and paying $50,000, Lt Col Rann did not hand it over to him.
Mr Yim said that when he asked for his money back, Lt Col Rann negotiated with him and later transferred him two plots of land on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.
“But when I took the land documents he gave me to verify with the local authorities, I found the land was owned by other villagers because he did not give all the money to them yet,” Mr Yim said.
Mr Yim said that to gain possession of the land, he had to pay another $12,000 to the villagers.
“He has cheated me since 2012 and has not refunded me any money that he owes me,” Mr Yim said. “To claim for my damages, I would like to ask the judge to force him to return $61,200 to me and punish him.”
Lt Col Rann denied the allegations, but claimed that he “borrowed” $61,200 from Mr Yim and intends to pay it back.
He requested the judge drop the charges and promised to repay the money. “I recognise that I owe this money, but I did not cheat him,” Lt Col Rann said. “I will pay the money back.”
If convicted, Lt Col Rann faces six months to three years in jail. A verdict is due on September 12.