The Mondulkiri Provincial Court charged and jailed the deputy director of an environmental NGO yesterday after he allegedly defrauded 14 villagers out of $2,100.
“Our investigating judge decided to charge and jail him even though his NGO tried to deposit [bail] and promised to return the amount of money to the villagers,” said Meas Bros, a provincial court spokesman who declined to name the judge and said he did not remember what the man was charged with.
Suspect Sen Sibry, 26, works for the Forest, Wildlife, and Environment Protection Organisation, and allegedly promised 16 local villagers a job at the NGO on the condition that they pay him $150 each. Fourteen of the applicants paid the fee, but none received employment.
Sou Sovan, deputy provincial police chief, said the NGO is operating legally with a permit from the minister of interior.
“He collected money from the villagers to get work as staffers, and the cheated villagers sued him,” Sovan said.
During questioning, Sibry reportedly told Sovan that he paid $200 five months ago to become deputy director of the organisation, but also claimed to never receive a salary.
“He paid an unidentified person, but he has never got the salary, so they work for what? How can they work? We hope that he loves nature, but I am afraid that it is not like that and he works for his personal interest,” Sovan said.
Police were unable to recover the stolen funds, leading Sovan to suspect another accomplice within the NGO, whose contact information could not be found yesterday.