Tycoon Charged in Fraud Over Police Offices Swap

A businessman was provisionally charged on Wednesday for fraud reportedly involving nearly $2 million related to a land-for-construction swap with Phnom Penh municipal police in a deal offered by the Council of Ministers, according to officials and a local news outlet.

Bun Sitha, a tycoon who holds the title “oknha” for donating at least $100,000 to the ruling CPP, was summoned for questioning on Wednesday over the case.

In a letter from the Council of Ministers, Mr. Sitha is offered a deal to construct a building for three municipal police departments in exchange for the land in Tuol Kok district where the departments are currently located, according to the government-aligned Fresh News service.

Where Mr. Sitha ran into trouble, the service says, is when he tried to sell that letter on to other developers.

After receiving $900,000 from one developer, he attempted to sell the same project to another company for $1 million, it says.

The departments involved in the deal—economic crime, human trafficking and drugs—will be consolidated in a building next to the current municipal police headquarters, said Keo Thea, chief of the municipal police’s human trafficking department.

“But I haven’t seen a company start on the foundations yet. Court officials and other senior police officials either declined to comment or said they did not know about the case.

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