Men Admit Using Fake Passports for Laundering

Two Congolese men accused of using fake passports to open multiple bank accounts that were used to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars across international borders pleaded guilty on Tuesday in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

Emmanuel Ngoma Ngoma Coco, 45, and Juniro Bin Mungomba, 36, were arrested in June and charged with producing and using fake public documents.

Under questioning by Presiding Judge Y Thavrak, Mr. Coco admitted he used fake passports sent from Thailand to open the bank accounts and took 5 percent of the money transferred into them, while handing the rest over to another person.

“I think it is money laundering,” he told the judge.

Mr. Mungomba testified that he knew it was illegal to use a fake passport, but “needed the money for my rental house.”

Thou Saroeun, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-terrorism department, said police confiscated 16 passports from Mr. Coco and one from Mr. Mungomba, and 68 bank account books, including some from banks in Thailand.

A verdict is expected on Tuesday.

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