A trial began yesterday for two Congolese men who confessed to charges of forging official documents, as well as to laundering money on behalf of two other men, despite not being charged with that crime.
The two accused, Emmanuel Ngoma, 48, and Junior Bin Bungomba, 36, were arrested in June for allegedly creating and using fake documents. Judge Y Thavrak said the pair was in possession of 17 passports and immigration stamps. The crimes carry a combined punishment of 12 years’ imprisonment.
Ngoma told the court that before coming to Cambodia, he met two men named Mathin and Bali in Thailand. They sent Ngoma the passports and told him and Bungomba to open bank accounts in Cambodia.
Money was deposited in the accounts, which they then delivered to a third party in exchange for a 5 percent cut.
“It is a kind of money laundering . . . They used us to make the money clean,” Ngoma testified.
The pair was arrested after Bungomba unsuccessfully tried to open an account at Sathapana Bank. Thou Sarouen, deputy chief of the international crimes department, claimed Ngoma withdrew more than $100,000.
“This is a network of money laundering. We are still investigating the case,” he said.
Neither the judge nor the prosecutor explained why the two weren’t charged with money laundering, while both accused requested a lighter sentence. A verdict is due on January 10.