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Fundraiser a phony, prosecutor tells court

Fundraiser a phony, prosecutor tells court

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court heard the case of a 33-year-old motortaxi driver yesterday who was charged with fraud after being accused of inflating his credentials and associating himself with an initiative of the Prime Minister Hun Sen’s, to raise funds from an unsuspecting donor.

Chheng Sopha was arrested on November 5 following a complaint from Korng Tola, director of a Korean-language school in Chom Chao commune in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district.

Sopha allegedly presented himself as head of fundraising for the general director of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Vocational Training’s administration and finance department.

In that guise, he told Tola that he needed $100 to bring in funds for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s volunteer student initiative, according to Judge Keo Mony.

“He was a motodop. But he pretended to be a personal assistant to [the general director] in charge of raising money on behalf of his boss,” Mony said.

He was arrested while waiting to pick up the money, he added.

Sopha denied the accusation during his trial.

He said a man named Ouch Puthy, who was a passenger on his motorbike, asked him to deliver the letter containing the bogus titles.

When he showed up at the school, the police swarmed in on him.

Sopha added that Puthy, who can’t be found, said he would pay him $10 to deliver the letter on his behalf.

“I was only the victim who was cheated by Ouch Puthy,” he said. “I am an innocent person. I would like to ask the court to drop the charges and release me.”

Court vice prosecutor Ek Chheng Huoth, asked that Sopha be “strongly punished”.

The verdict will be handed down on June 13.

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