The Battambang military police on Tuesday sent an NGO director to the provincial court for allegedly defrauding four villagers of $10,600 by claiming he could get the latter jobs in the army.
The Military Police’s justice department director To Dy said Tep Pech, also known as Tep Visal – who is the director of NGO Angkar Karpear Parethan noeng Akphivat (Development and Environment Protection) – was arrested on Friday following a complaint filed by his victims last month.
The four victims accused Visal of promising them jobs in the military and taking $10,600 from them, Dy said.
“The suspect denied the allegation during questioning. He claimed that he had helped them. He also said a senior military official, whom he had asked a favour of, took the money without giving jobs to the villagers,” he said.
Visal did not disclose the identity of the senior military official, Dy said.
Moreover, he said Visal denied having introduced himself as a one-star general to the villagers. He just claimed that he knew many senior officers who could help people get jobs in the military.
“Our experts concluded that the suspect had committed fraud, and thus on Monday, we sent him to the provincial court."
“He [Visal] was brought back to us on the same day because the prosecutor was busy. On Tuesday morning, we sent him to court again,” he said.
The justice department report said it had taken the military police a month to investigate before making the arrest.
It also said that each villager gave over $2,500 to the suspect before the latter escaped and did not answer any of the victims’ phone calls.
Yos Samon, the NGO’s deputy secretary, said Visal’s case is a “personal matter”.
“As his [Visal] subordinates, we were surprised when we heard about his arrest. This, however, does not affect our NGO’s work,” he said.
As of Tuesday evening, Visal has still not been charged. The legal procedures would resume on Wednesday, the court administrative director Tieng Sambo said.