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Official in court over fraud case

A high-level agricultural official in Kampong Speu province has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from paddy rice farmers after promising to deliver them land titles in January 2013, a rights group representative and a court prosecutor said yesterday.

Cher Pich, 44, deputy director of the provincial agriculture department, was arrested earlier this month and charged yesterday with “fraud and breach of trust”, according to Roth Thavy, provincial investigator for rights group Adhoc.

Pich is accused of swindling $20,000 from rice farmers in Odong district, a military police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Post.

“He took their [the farmers’] money to buy luxury cars,” the officer said.

The complainants, he added, took legal action after Pich allegedly spent months evading their attempts to meet.

Keo Sothea, a provincial prosecutor, confirmed the charge yesterday and added that Pich was still being questioned over the case.

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