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Former Buddhism Office boss to be charged in unusual wealth case

Aug 07. 2019
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By The Nation

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The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has resolved to charge Phanom Sornsilp, former director of National Office of Buddhism (NOB), for being “unusually wealthy” with unexplained assets worth Bt216 million, and will shortly forward the case to public prosecutors for his indictment in the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Case, according to NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon.

Phanom was probed by the NACC after he became entangled in the temple funds embezzlement scandal linked to state grants to Ayutthaya’s Wat Phananchoeng during the fiscal years 2014-2015. A raid on his home by authorities found signs of unusual wealth.

The NACC checked the list of assets and debts, which Phanom and his spouse Nisa Sornsilp submitted before Phanom landed the position of NOB director in 2014, and found a large number of these assets were acquired between 2009 and 2018. The NACC then set up a sub-committee led by NACC commissioner Supa Piyajitti to probe the alleged unusual wealth of Phanom, which found that Phanom and his close entourage, children and relatives couldn’t provide legal provenance of eight assets worth Bt216,062,819.54. These were Bt163,022,595.05 cash deposited in 16 different places; Bt22,470,000 of investments with eight institutes; seven plots of land worth Bt5,119,400 in Udon Thani province; two houses in Udon Thani and Nakhon Pathom worth Bt805,919 combined; three condominium units in Udon Thani and Nakhon Pathom worth Bt3,960,000; nine cars worth Bt4,931,200; four insurance policies worth a total of Bt828,489; and Bt14,925,216.49 in cash used to repay debts at four financial institutes.

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