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Probe after SSO employee admits stealing pension money

Dec 19. 2017
Labour Minister Pol General Adul Sangsingkeo
Labour Minister Pol General Adul Sangsingkeo
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By The Nation

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Labour Minister Pol General Adul Sangsingkeo has instructed officials to fire and proceed with criminal action against an unnamed official at the Bangkok branch of the Social Security Office (SSO) who has reportedly confessed to embezzling old-age pension money from at least four people.

Adul also instructed all SSO area offices to check on payments and hunt for any more embezzlers, and review measures against such wrongdoing in the future.

Adul told reporters at Government House on Tuesday that he had given urgent instructions with four points: to fire the official, to implement remedial measures for the victims, to proceed with both disciplinary and criminal actions against the wrongdoer, and to check if anyone else was involved.

“The embezzled money [Bt10,000 in the first instance] isn’t much, but we must proceed actions against the wrongdoer because this kind of problem must be solved,” he said.

During the Monday meeting of ministerial executives, including SSO secretary-general Dr Suradech Waleeithikul, Adul said the embezzlement case had severely tarnished the organisation’s reputation.

Officials have urged people with suspicions of embezzlement to file complaints to PO Box 1, Din Daeng Post Office, Bangkok 10400 or call the 1506 hotline.

Suradech said the SSO had started the disciplinary and criminal-code actions against the official and would soon issue measures to prevent a reoccurrence.

Deputy Permanent Secretary for Labour and ministry spokesperson Petcharat Sinauy said Adul asked the SSO to review the whole system to prevent loopholes for wrongdoings, and instructed Petcharat and the SSO to explain the case to the public to boost confidence in the agency.

The move followed a complaint by a Labour Ministry official that her elderly husband had been insured under the SSO Act’s Section 40 but resigned from the scheme in August last year and never got back the Bt10,000 he had contributed.

The official plaintiff said she was told that the money would be sent via Thananat money order. She didn’t follow through when the money hadn’t arrived within 90 days, as she assumed there was some delay. Two weeks ago, she finally asked about progress in the matter and was given the money order number.

She then learned from a post office that someone had withdrawn the money on August 18, 2016. The money, which was supposed to be sent to the Lak Si Post Office somehow ended up at the Din Daeng Post Office.

She brought the case to the SSO Bangkok Area 3 (Din Daeng) Office director’s attention and an inquiry at the office pointed at the official, who then broke into tears and confessed to stealing the money. The official also reportedly confessed to having committed similar crimes against at least three others.

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