The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday convicted a man of fraud for impersonating an employee of not one, but two high-ranking government officials – one of whom was Senate President Chea Sim – with the aim of stealing $1,000 from yet another government official.
Presiding judge Heng Sokna sentenced 52-year-old defendant Cheng Phearom – also known as Sok Chantha, Heng Chantha or Sok Narin – to one year and six months in prison, and fined him four million riel for presenting himself as both an adviser to Chea Sim and a personnel secretary for Council of Ministers Secretary of State Bun Uy in an attempt to cheat Has Vary, himself a government official.
“If the suspect does not approve, the suspect can file a lawsuit to the appellate court,” said Sokna.
According to Sokna, Phearom was arrested last July after he identified himself as a government official seeking “to borrow $1,000 from Has Vary for Bun Uy to pay to take Chea Sim abroad”.
The plan was found out, he continued, when Vary called Uy directly to discuss the payment. Phearom was arrested at Vary’s house in Stung Meanchey commune, when he came to collect a smaller payment of $300.
In court, Phearom denied the charges, saying he had no aliases and had deceived no one. He admitted that he and his friend, Sok Narin – who was still at large – had received money from Vary, but that the money was simply a donation that Vary had given him.