The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday convicted two Congolese nationals of forgery and using fake documents, while seemingly ignoring the men’s testimony that they had effectively functioned as money launderers.
“The court sentences Emmanuel Ngoma, 48 and Junior Bin Bungomba, 36 each to eight years in prison and a fine of 4 million riel [about $1,000] for the forgery and use of false documents committed in Phnom Penh in 2015 and 2016,” said judge Y Thavreak.
Ngoma could only say yesterday that “the sentence is too much, too heavy”. The duo have 30 days to appeal.
Both were arrested in June, and police found 17 passports, immigration stamps and several bank account books in their possession.
The pair had testified to opening bank accounts with passports Ngoma received from a Belgian national and Frenchman in Thailand. The pair delivered money sent to the accounts to a third party in exchange for a 5 percent cut.
Ngoma had previously characterised the act as a form of money-laundering, though the court never charged the pair with that crime.