Monday, November 18, 2019

First stage of welfare-centre scam probe to end by month’s end

Mar 16. 2018
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By Prasit Tangprasert
The Nation
NAKHON RATCHASIMA

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The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Region 3 aims to have all evidence gathered by the end of the month regarding alleged embezzlement at state centres assisting destitute people.

Sub-committees will then be established to mete out punishment for anyone found guilty of corruption in the Bt13-million scam spread across seven provinces in the lower Northeast.

Region 3 director Pisit Sakanchanachai on Friday said three types of irregularities had been detected.

Either the intended recipients didn’t get their entitled welfare allowances, got less than the amount budgeted for them, or were not qualified to receive an allowance.

The PACC investigation of 76 provincial centres set up to aid people in need has so far found apparent graft at 44 centres.

The probe will extend to the rest before a May 31 deadline set by the government.

Evidence of corruption has been found in 17 of the 20 provinces in the Northeast.

In seven Region 3 provinces excluding Si Sa Ket, Bt13,255,000 was allegedly embezzled.

The figure breaks down to Bt1,530,000 in Ubon Ratchathani, Bt1,215,000 in Amnat Charoen, Bt4 million in Yasothon, Bt1,260,000 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Bt1.9 million in Chaiyaphum, Bt800,000 in Buri Ram and Bt2,550,000 in Surin.

Praiwan Polwan, acting permanent secretary for the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, said on Thursday that 22 civil servants at 16 of the provincial centres had been transferred to other posts pending the investigation’s conclusion.

Of five other accused officials, four are already retired and one resigned before the transfer orders were issued, but they remain subjects of a fact-finding probe and could face disciplinary action too.

Praiwan said ministry officials were accompanying PACC investigators making the rounds of the centres to help coordinate the effort.

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