The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summoned an official from the Kandal provincial Office of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction and his accomplice to appear for questioning on June 13-14 over forgery of land documents.
A summons issued by municipal court deputy prosecutor Ngin Pich earlier this month said Nouv Sat, head of the Kandal provincial office of land management, is accused of faking documents and transferring over 80ha of land belonging to four families in Kandal province’s Kandal Stung district without their consent. Sat is due to appear in court on Thursday.
The court also summoned Sat’s alleged accomplice, Yem Rachana, to appear for questioning on Friday. The case is heard by the municipal court because the duo resides in Phnom Penh.
“The court orders [the pair] to appear before Phnom Penh Municipal Court regarding collusion in faking documents and selling properties that do not belong to them,” read the summons.
According to a complaint filed in court, the four families bought the land in Kandal Stung district’s Ampov Prey commune between 2007 and 2018 with the recognition of commune and village authorities.
In November 2015, the complaint said, a land broker named Nouv Phearum forged their thumbprints with the intention of transferring the ownership of their paddy fields to others.
The forgery was allegedly coordinated by Sat and made to transfer the land ownership to Rachana. The land was then sold to another person named Lay Pithy Yupok, prompting the four families to file a complaint.
“The land transaction documentation has been examined and officially proved to contain thumbprints not belonging to the four plaintiffs,” the complaint said.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Khun Sona has also issued an arrest warrant for Phearum for forgery and use of bogus documents to claim 83ha of land in Kandal Stung district that did not belong to him.
Lim Chansophy, the Kandal provincial director of the Department of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, could not be reached for comment.
Kandal Stung district deputy governor Ouch Saoroeung said he was aware of the case but declined to comment. “I know about the case but I can’t provide details on the phone. Come and see the documents in person,” he said.