THE PAVILIONS PHUKET EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Probe exposes widespread fraud

NATIONWIDE: Alleged irregularities in the B493-million budget allocated last year for underprivileged people has not only led investigators to the masterminds but also exposed extensive fraud committed by state officials.

crimecorruption
By Bangkok Post

Monday 12 March 2018, 08:54AM


One criminal method used to embezzle welfare funds from the country’s most destitute was outright identity theft, with fingerprints. Photo: Apichit Jinakul

One criminal method used to embezzle welfare funds from the country’s most destitute was outright identity theft, with fingerprints. Photo: Apichit Jinakul

The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), which is probing state welfare centres in many provinces for their roles in embezzling state assistance money intended for the poor, has uncovered various tactics some officials used to embezzle the government money.

PACC investigators have found several methods which the unscrupulous officials invented to steal the money. The methods may be different in how they were practised but all of them required tampering with official papers to enable them to siphon the money, according to PACC secretary-general Kornthip Daroj.

The fraud involved drawing up a list of phony recipients and producing photocopies of identity cards, sometimes of people who exist but who had no idea their names were being used to collect the welfare money, which never reached those in need of it.

The first case of embezzlement came to light in January. It was exposed by a group of Maha Sarakham University students. They were told to fill in forms and sign fake signatures on the receipts for 2,000 villagers, worth nearly B7mn, while they were working as interns at the Khon Kaen Protection for the Destitute Centre last year.

The students alleged that the centre chief Phuangphayom Chikhom and some senior officials had ordered them to do it.

The money was intended to be given to poor people, low-income earners and HIV/Aids patients in the province.

The PACC have met villagers in whose names the money was supposed to have been distributed.

The villagers said they received no, or only part of, the money.

The scandal prompted PACC investigators to launch large-scale probes, which cover centres in other provinces.

The commission is investigating the alleged irregularities in 27 provinces and is in the process of probing the scandal in Khon Kaen, Nong Khai, Bung Kan, Trat, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai and Nan, Lt Col Kornthip said.

In Nan, officials found the money was going to residents who are well-off.

According to an initial investigation, local officials asked villagers to give them photocopies of their identity cards for a check of people participating in a kathin robe-giving ceremony. But it turned out that the documents were used in a plot to withdraw money under the welfare programme.

“Some recipients were not qualified because they are financially secure,” said a PACC official who is in a probe team.

Village heads, kamnan and even their wives are among those who received financial assistance though they are not eligible, PACC member Gen Jaramporn Suramani said, referring to findings reported by probe teams in many provinces.

Some of the names and signatures of people who received the assistance money were fake.

Central Phuket

According to the PACC, some officials “stole” the identities of people registered for some other welfare activities and used them to pick up the money. In this case, it was difficult for the ID owners to know about the theft of their personal data.

Details of the identities of people kept in the government’s civil database were printed out and fake signatures furnished on the printouts to certify “genuineness” of the documents.

The names of dead people were among the recipients of the assistance money, according to the PACC.

The commission added local state officials in the tambon administrative organisations and school administrators may also have colluded in the embezzlement. They helped supply the names of the needy people qualified to get the state money. However, they did not receive the full amount of money they were entitled to.

The involvement of other local state agencies made the welfare distribution process look credible.

The embezzlement involved conducting surveys of eligible welfare recipients. The surveys were supposed to have been made and the identity of the recipients verified. However, the PACC found the recipients who picked up the cheques did not exist in the civil registration database.

Some local residents who were qualified to obtain the welfare money were asked to sign their names on request documents. However, they were put on a long waiting list while their money was being diverted to someone else.

“Corruption in state agencies stems from these familiar methods,” Lt Col Kornthip said.

“It’s hard to believe state officials don’t have knowledge about them.”

If welfare centre chiefs collude in the wrongdoing, money will be easily embezzled because they are authorised to grant money.

The process of financial disbursement is not subject to cross-checking by other agencies before the money is granted to the poor.

“It’s a flaw that breeds fraud and dishonesty, regardless of whether it happened intentionally or unintentionally,” Gen Jaramporn said.

It is also a reason that explains why the aid money scandal is rampant in some welfare centres and has gone undetected in the past.

Read original story here.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

marcher | 12 March 2018 - 10:45:31

Everyone knows Thailand is totally corrupt, but state officials stealing from the poor is the absolute low. I hope there will be none of this 'transfer to an inactive post' rubbish to let them go scot free. Toss them in the clink and fine tem 10 times what they stole

Discover Thainess | 12 March 2018 - 10:16:21

Extensive fraud by state officials? In thailand? Who would believe it ???

Kurt | 12 March 2018 - 10:06:59

Many of these state officials ( criminals) go to Buddhist temples to buy flowers, buy sticks to burn. Do Wai.
Must be sickening for the spirit of Holy Lord Buddha to see all these hypocrites using Him to clear their criminal conscience.
Thai officials cheating old thai folks. How deep can you sink?

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket mops up after storm lashes island, plunges businesses into darkness

"Now complaining about media coverage," did I miss something, who is complaining, about me...(Read More)


Amid ‘overtourism’ scourge, global survey questions happiness of residents in major tourism destinations

Does anyone think that business operators are going to for-go profits for residents to "feel mo...(Read More)


Phuket beach-touring croc a ‘saltie’, DNA tests confirm

Fresh abrasions from keeping croc in concrete enclosure. Astonished that a croc kept in a concrete...(Read More)


Major power blackout to affect Karon

Understand that now and than at different Phuket areas high voltage cables have to be renewed. But I...(Read More)


Thai man, 30, dies in Phuket motorbike crash

Test drive at dark hours on Phuket ill lighted roads. Speed is your winner,... to heaven. Lucky no...(Read More)


Weapons, ammunition found in vehicle of man shot dead by Phuket police

Either very poor reporting, we see a lot of it, or something wrong here, first report does not menti...(Read More)


Govt to splash B151mn to prevent Phuket road flooding

Nonsense and jibberish. This is just the next mega budget burner. The governor laments the lack of u...(Read More)


Phuket man, 29, shot dead while fleeing police

Best Insp Kurt doesn't get chased by the cops in America- he'll be in for a nasty shot!...(Read More)


Govt to splash B151mn to prevent Phuket road flooding

Ahh- so it's all about 'image' then. No mention about addressing the root causes of thi...(Read More)


Phuket man, 29, shot dead while fleeing police

From the Bangkok Post, "...was shot dead after he opened fire at arresting police after a chase...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018