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Expecting justice, ThaiHealth manager quits over allegations of budget misuse

Oct 17. 2015
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By Pratch Rujivanarom
The Nation

THE BOARD of the ThaiHealth Promotion Foundation yesterday accepted the resignation of its manager after allegations of budget misuse and conflict of interest.
A replacement for outgoing manager Krissada Raungarreerat is yet to be named.
ThaiHealth was investigated recently by the Monitoring and Auditing Committee on Fiscal Expenditure over the organisation’s funding policy. The committee report stated that ThaiHealth had subsidised projects irrelevant to its objectives and had also funded projects owned by its executives, prompting accusations of conflict of interest.
Krissada said yesterday that he had resigned because he wanted to let the investigation process function freely and to also show the transparency of the foundation. He sent his resignation letter to the ThaiHealth Committee yesterday.
“ThaiHealth strictly adheres to the principle of good governance and to ensure the transparency of the organisation, I express my desire to resign as manager of ThaiHealth,” he announced.
He expressed his faith and confidence in the straightforwardness of Justice Minister General Paiboon Kumchaya to lead the investigation on ThaiHealth. He also expressed confidence that Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn would clarify that the scope of healthcare improvement was according to international standards.
“I also expect justice from Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, that he will listen to true information,” he stated.
He added in his statement that he would continue with his social work.
Admiral Narong Pipatanasai, chairman of the ThaiHealth Committee, said he had held discussions with Krissada about his resignation and he praised his decision because he had taken responsibility as manager of the organisation.
Narong said ThaiHealth would have to appoint an acting manager and until then the deputy manager would be in charge.
“I am pleased to let the Public Anti-Corruption Commission inspect our organisation. ThaiHealth may not have been presented in a good light recently but it doesn’t mean that Krissada and ThaiHealth have done something wrong; it may just be a misunderstanding,” he said.
Meanwhile, Foundation for Consumers secretary-general Saree Aongsomwang said she disagreed with the government’s plan to inspect ThaiHealth. She said the Monitoring and Auditing Committee on Fiscal Expenditure did not have a good reason to inspect the foundation.
“I am not objecting to the inspection, every organisation needs to be inspected regularly, but the government has no good reason to launch this intense investigation into ThaiHealth because there have been no cases of corruption reported by the Office of the Auditor-General,” Saree said.
Regarding the partial budget cut, she said it would not affect her foundation’s operations, as the fund from ThaiHealth is only a small part of the budget. But other projects that campaign for alcohol and tobacco control and receive funding predominantly from ThaiHealth will suffer from the budget cut.
“I’d like to see fair inspection of every organisation without any bias,” she said.

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