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Official questioned over $1.5M land ‘fraud’

Official questioned over $1.5M land ‘fraud’

A former Ministry of Interior police officer was tried by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday for allegedly embezzling more than $1.5 million under the pretense of buying land from Kandal province villagers for a company he used to work for.

Ex-officer Pech Hy was charged with breach of trust after his former employer and friend Okhna Srey Chanthan, president of 7NG Company and Agricultural Safety Trading Co Ltd, sued him for buying around 1,000 hectares of land with company money and registering himself as their landowner, said judge Nou Veasna.

According to Interior Ministry Colonel Seng Sokha, Hy has been in hiding since 2009 but was arrested on July 16, 2014, after he was seen working in the ministry.

Hy denied the accusations.

“I did not take the company’s moneys for my own use,” he told the court. “I have already paid the lands’ owners.”

But the plaintiff’s lawyer, Lay Nora, said his client has yet to receive any land documents from Hy. Hy’s hearing will continue on May 5.

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