A Ministry of Justice employee and a police officer have been charged with fraud after allegedly posing as Anti-Corruption Unit officers and tricking people into handing over money they thought would buy their relatives’ way out of prison, an ACU official said yesterday.
Nuon Sothimon, director of the legal, complaints and international affairs department at the ACU, said in a press conference that justice ministry worker Nuon Sarath, 42, and police officer Keo Sophal, 48, from the Ministry of Interior, had been sent to Phnom Penh Municipal court to face charges.
The two men were arrested last week after complaints from two alleged victims who said they paid a total of $6,000 to the phony ACU officials thinking it would secure their relatives’
release from Prey Sar prison.
“These two people claimed they worked with the ACU,” Sothimon said. “They have used the ACU’s name to cheat money from victims. Their activities have seriously affected the ACU’s honour and reputation – and will have made people lose trust in what the ACU does.”
Sothimon said that after paying $2,500, one victim asked when her relative would be released.
“But they could not release [the relative], and when the victim asked for her money back, they threatened to arrest her and her family and put them in prison,” he said.
Another victim, from the capital’s Borei Keila community, had handed over $3,500, Sothimon said.
“They spent all the victims’ money and did not return it.”
Separately, a third person had accused Sarath of grabbing land from him in Kampot last year, Sothimon added.
Luch Sokleang, chief of the Ministry of Justice’s inspection department, has said Sarath was recently suspended from work for “improper activities” that violated ministry rules and damaged its honour.
“He has already been suspended,” he told the Post.
Sarath and Sophoan, who are being detained in Prey Sar prison while they await trial, could not be reached for comment.