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Top officials linked to education fund theft

BANGKOK: Seven high-ranking education officials and retirees have been found to be involved in the embezzlement of more than B88 million from a protection fund supposed to help underprivileged children, according to an internal Education Ministry probe.

corruptioncrime
Agency: Bangkok Post

Tuesday 8 May 2018, 09:14AM


Seven high-ranking current and retired officials of the Ministry of Education are believed behind the theft of more than 88 million baht from a fund meant to help under-privileged students. Photo: Bangkok Post / file

Seven high-ranking current and retired officials of the Ministry of Education are believed behind the theft of more than 88 million baht from a fund meant to help under-privileged students. Photo: Bangkok Post / file

Athapol Truektrong, the Education Ministry’s inspector-general who is heading the inquiry into the alleged corruption, said three of them have already been transferred pending further investigations into their links with former senior official Rojana Sintee – who has confessed to embezzling money from the fund.

Ms Rojana has already been dismissed as a government official.

Mr Athapol said that the other four officials and retirees were not directly involved with Ms Rojana, but they approved disbursements based on false documents prepared by Ms Rojana and her team.

“Although they were not directly involved in the cheating, because they were responsible for looking after the fund, they may be held accountable for dereliction of duty,” he said.

He did not disclose the names of the seven officials and retirees.

Mr Athapol said his committee had already submitted a full report of its investigation to Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Karun Sakulpradit.

“The permanent secretary for education will set up a disciplinary committee to decide what action should be taken against each of them. It could be anything from a light reprimand to dismissal from the service,” he said.

Mr Athapol said his committee is still checking 68 bank accounts suspected of involvement in the embezzlement.

“We are waiting for Krungthai Bank to provide us information about these accounts, so there is a possibility that we might find more state officials involved in the embezzlement,” he said.

“If there are more people involved, they will be summonsed and question in the same manner as the other seven officials and retirees,” he added.

The scandal was uncovered during the internal auditing of the 2017 budget for the Office of the Permanent Secretary of Education.

The ministry’s probe said embezzlement from the fund began in 2004 and totalled about B88mn, although Ms Rojana claimed only to have channelled money out of it since 2012, with sums being transferred into the accounts of associates instead of the rightful recipients.

 

Read original story here.

 

 

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Robin Lee | 08 May 2018 - 18:11:09

These government officials should be punsih3ed to the extent of the law. Especially those who cheated the poor and destitute.

Kurt | 08 May 2018 - 14:23:47

As long any thai Government, legal or illegal, continues to protect corrupt government officials with transfers to inactive posts ( there must be thousands by now) instead of punishing them as they do in Singapore, that long there is no hope for the underprivileged Thai and the country's smart future.
Smart means...no corruption. Live on your salary as a government employee.

RBS47 | 08 May 2018 - 12:47:36

Yes, I embezzle THB88 million and the worst penalties I can expect are a transfer or, God forbid, my dismissal! Please dismiss me so that I can go spend my ill-gotten gains in peace!
This is why corruption will never be rooted out in Thailand!
In any other civilized country, I would be sent to jail AND ordered to repay what I had stolen. 

Kurt | 08 May 2018 - 12:20:09

SEVEN? Since 2004?  Give me a break.
There must dozens of them who worked hard over the years shuffling criminal away B88 million mend for underprivileged children
(why Thailand has 'underprivileged' people?)
Criminal Government Officials should be named and shamed. Not very smart not to do if a Junta wants more support of the nation's majority.

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