By PIYANUCH TAMNUKASETCHAI
And some of the 173 cases involved temples that repeatedly applied for maintenance funds that were diverted to corrupted officials.
The Royal Thai Police Counter-Corruption Division is expected to wrap up investigation of the 173 cases this coming week.
Some 14 locations have been searched for evidence to support potential criminal charges. The division will submit their findings to the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to proceed with legal action under the Criminal Code, said Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission secretary-general Prayong Preeyajit, in his capacity as CNAC secretary.
The CNAC would also co-ordinate with supervisors of accused officials from the National Office of Buddhism, to ensure disciplinary action is taken against the accused officials in parallel with criminal prosecution.
Saying that the CNAC actions focused on the officials involved in the wrongdoing, Prayong said there were no clear evidence to incriminate monks.
The probe has so far found that monks were ordered to open bank accounts used to receive the temple maintenance budget and then wire most of the money back to the personal accounts of corrupted officials.
Prayong said officers would have to probe further to prove that monks had an intention to participate in accounting dishonesty and wiring of funds to corrupt officials.