Officials Questioned in Export Fraud Case

Police and court authorities said Wednesday some Ministry of Commerce officials suspected of being involved in an export license fraud scheme will be questioned, but they declined to name the individuals who will be summoned.

The case initially produced the ar­rests of 10 men and women ac­cused of selling fake documents and seals to garment factories in China to make it seem as if their products came from Cam­bodia.

The garment factories in China exported their products to the US and to European countries, which give Cambodia a special trade status that allows its products to come in duty free.

An 11th suspect, Lao Ta, a garment factory employee, was arrested after he was questioned Tuesday.

All of the arrested have been charged with falsifying documents, an offense that would bring at least two years in prison, according to Heng Peo, deputy chief of penal police for the Ministry of Interior.

Po Lyda, first deputy chief of the Interior Ministry’s central justice police, said police are investigating Commerce Ministry officials who may have participated in the fraud.

Uk Savuth, a municipal court prosecutor, said “I think some ministry officials may be involved in this case.”

Bun Oun, who confessed he made fake documents for nine months, said he took the documents to Mok Pichrith, director of the Gene­ralized System of Prefe­rences office in the Ministry of Commerce, to sign at least six times.

Mok Pichrith denied that he was involved in the scheme, and said he was the one who reported the scandal in the first place.

The signature of Ok Boung, secretary of state at the Com­merce Ministry, also appears on some of the falsified documents.

Ok Boung said Wednesday that whoever made the documents had also forged his signature.

“The suspects are accusing ministry officials without any evidence,” he said.

 

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