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Sema Pattana Chevit Fund ‘black list’ of 44 names goes to PACC

Apr 10. 2018
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By The Nation

A list of 44 civil servants allegedly involved in corruption at the Education Ministry’s Sema Pattana Chevit Fund for underprivileged children was submitted on Tuesday to the Public Anti-Corruption Commission.

Education inspector-general Atthapol Truektrong, chairman of a ministry-assigned fact-finding committee, filed a formal complaint along with the list, which names 22 individuals accused in the original complaint covering 2012-2017.

As investigators probed further back, to 2005, more officials were found to be involved.

The list also names from this period two education officials, one at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, one at the Land Department, a military officer, a Border Patrol policeman and a teacher in Tak.

A further 15 officials’ involvement was detected in when the committee took a more detailed second look.

Six non-governmental officials are also under investigation as recipients of cashier cheques signed by Rojana Sinthee, a C8-level education official who allegedly abused her authority in overseeing the fund.

Atthapol said Rojana had confessed to stealing millions of baht from the fund and has been sacked.

Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin announced on Monday that the panel determined Bt230 million was wired from the fund in 1,049 transactions to the 471 bank accounts of fund recipients and others from August 2005-November 2017. 

Forty per cent of that amount, Bt96.38 million, is believed to have been embezzled and sent to 52 bank accounts of people not authorised to receive funds, Teerakiat said. 

The owners of 34 of these accounts have been identified. The Anti-Money Laundering Office is looking into the ownership of the other 18. 

Teerakiat said document evidence pointed towards another C8-level education official as an accomplice, a matter to be probed further.

The 52 accounts were divided among four groups, members of which are being urged to step forward and cooperate with investigators, he said.

The first group of accounts belonged to Rojana and her relatives and the second to her friends from her bachelor and master’s degree classes. Some of these have already confessed to being involved, Teerakiat said.

The third group includes the account of a charity foundation where Rojana served as an executive. It received Bt2 million over seven occasions. The fourth group is accounts opened by former fund recipients who let Rojana use them because they respected and trusted her.

Public Health Ministry officials have meanwhile been instructed to prepare more evidence regarding scholarships issued by the Sema Pattana Chevit Fund now that the investigation is reaching back to 2005.

The ministry had already submitted information about scholarships granted from 2012-2017.

But Dr Panpimol Wipulakorn, deputy permanent secretary, said the Health Ministry only had information dating back to 2010, when it signed an agreement with the Education Ministry that resulted in funding being wired to students at various campuses of Boromarajonani College of Nursing.

From 2012-2017, 292 nursing students received scholarships from the fund via three projects.

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