Friday, July 19, 2019

Temples insist NBO money was for India trip, not graft

Jun 10. 2018
Photo courtesy of www.sbl.co.th
Photo courtesy of www.sbl.co.th
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By Sayan Chucham
The Nation

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Three temples in Phichit province, that are among the 30 northern and central temples accused of involvement in embezzling from the National Buddhism Office (NBO) budget meant for temple development, are insisting on their innocence.

The police Counter-Corruption Division was investigating the three temples over suspicion of temple-fund graft.

But the temples insist that they had not paid a commission fee to a corrupt official. Rather, the Bt2 million wired to each temple’s bank account was for an NBO-sponsored field trip to India, which the temples then wired to the trip organisers accordingly, according to Wat Nong Tao in Bang Mun Nak, along with Wat Ton Chum Seang and Wat Thongthaiyaram, both in Taphan Hin district. 

Phra Kruwiwitthawatchai, the Wat Thongthaiyaram abbot, said his temple joined the field trip to India on the invitation of other senior monks and gave the temple’s bank account number information to the project’s organisers. 

After that Bt2 million budget was sent to the temple’s bank account on December 14, 2015 and the temple on the following day wired the entire amount to the project organisers to cover the trip expenses, the abbot said.

The temple’s monks and layman committee members also donated some money to the project’s fund-raising campaign to develop temples in India, he added.

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