The court ruled on Thursday (May 17) former Phra Promdilok and former Phra Attakit Sophon had siphoned some B4 million of the B5 million budget from the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) to the accounts of Wipaporn Udomchokpiti.
The NOB earmarked B5 million between 2013 and 2014 to Wat Sam Phraya, part of the B72 million budget for all temples nationwide to support projects promoting Buddhism.
The money was transferred to the woman in three separate transactions between December 2013 and January 2014, according to the prosecution’s documents.
The judges dismissed claims by the two former senior monks they thought the money was allocated to the temple for the construction of two buildings.
The court sentenced the former monk to six years and his close aide three years with no suspended terms.
Former Phra Prom Dilok and former Phra Attakit Sophon were arrested by the Crime Suppression Division in May last year during the nationwide campaign to crack down on monks allegedly embezzling money to support religious activities at their temples.
Former Phra Prom Dilok’s layman name is Auen Klinsalee and his secretary’s name is Somsong Attakit. The two were defrocked and detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison after the arrest.
Their lawyer Kosol Saisuwan said after the ruling that his clients would appeal to a higher court.
The ruling was the second in a string of court cases against alleged corrupt monks. In April, Phra Khru Kitti Phatcharakhun, the abbot of Wat Lat Khae in Chon Daen district of Loei, was sentenced to 26 years in prison on the same charges. He was later defrocked and jailed.
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