Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a 43-year-old man for allegedly forging the signatures of Interior Minister Sar Kheng and General Sao Sokha, the National Military Police commander, in an alleged effort to get 10 men hired as ministry officials.
Ing Chandara, a former NGO worker who was arrested in April, admitted wrongdoing in court yesterday, saying he had falsely claimed to have connections in the Interior Ministry and that ten job applicants paid him $400 in April to hasten the application process for them.
He said he forged the signatures on documents that falsely showed the ministry had approved the men’s employment, with the belief that the ministry would not detect the forgery and put the men on staff.
“I forged it by myself. No one ordered and forced me to do it. I request the court to please reduce my punishment and I promise that I will not do this again,” he said, adding that he needed the money he received for the forgeries, because he struggled to feed himself.
According to a statement read in court by a clerk, the complainant, Sisowath Sereyvuth, 44, one of the 10 applicants, said he showed the documents to the Interior Ministry, which said they were not authentic.
Deputy prosecutor Kry Sok Y said the defendant’s confession and the forged documents were enough to support a conviction.
Under the Untac criminal code, Mr Chandara could face 5 to 15 years in prison.
The suspect’s lawyer Neang Hay said his client did not know the seriousness of the crime and should be given credit for cooperating with authorities.
“I request the court to reduce the punishment of my client because he confessed,” he said. The verdict is scheduled to be announced on Oct 21.