The deputy chief of a microfinance NGO was arrested on Tuesday evening following allegations that he and his brother, the NGO’s director, had scammed Svay Rieng province villagers out of nearly $40,000, police said yesterday.
According to the victims’ complaint, suspects Chet Sarin, 32, and his brother Chet Ven, 26 – the deputy director and director of NGO the Cambodian Village Development Agency, respectively – tricked 13 families in Svay Rieng’s Pong Teuk commune into borrowing a total of $40,000 from Acleda Bank then turning it over to their organisation, said deputy provincial police chief Kuy Sopheap.
In return, the two men promised to make the bank payments and pay participants 40 per cent in interest after two years, but instead disappeared after a few months, he added. Police managed to arrest Sarin, who reportedly confessed, but Ven is still at large.
“He made payments to the bank for only three to four months, and then he escaped payment. That’s why the bank demanded the villagers pay,” Sopheap said. “Now the village has no money to pay to the bank.”
So Sorn, Pong Teuk’s commune chief, said that the villagers had been lured into agreeing to the scam thanks to the high interest rates promised. In February, the Finance Ministry warned Cambodians not to trust microfinance institutions offering extremely high interest rates.