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Court hears counterfeit-note case

PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday heard a case against a Nigerian man and a Filipino woman charged with the possession of about US$4,500 worth of counterfeit United States currency.

Okafor Samuel Chukwue Meka, 33, and his girlfriend Catalan Genelie, 37, were arrested on March 21 after a vendor at the Russian Market in Chamkarmon district told police the couple had attempted to pay with a fake US$100 bill. Police said they later confiscated a further 44 fake $100 notes from the couple.

Both defendants pled not guilty to all charges yesterday, claiming that they did not know the money was counterfeit.

“I did not know they were fake notes because I borrowed all this money from my Nigerian friend from Malaysia,” Meka said.

Genelie said she had been with her partner for two years and was shocked when they were arrested. “I didn’t know that he possessed fake dollars,” she said.

The pair’s defence lawyer Kong Tylin asked the court to drop the charges against his clients, who he said had no illegal intentions. Presiding Judge Duch Kimsorn, however, said there was evidence to suggest the couple was guilty.

Deputy court prosecutor Chek Khemara requested that the court allow more time to prepare evidence. “There is enough evidence, such as the fake dollars confiscated from the pair, but we would like to request the court to … order police to examine the money at a national bank,” he said.

The couple faces a sentence of between five and 10 years in prison if found guilty. Duch Kimsorn said a verdict would be handed down  December 8.

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