PACC poised to target 37 welfare hubs
The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is zeroing in on 37 out of 70 welfare centres across the country suspected of embezzling state funds earmarked for the underprivileged.
The move came after the Khon Kaen Protection for the Destitute, an agency that helps underprivileged and HIV patients under supervision of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, was accused of embezzling state funds.
PACC deputy secretary-general Korntip Daroj said yesterday the 37 welfare centres are subject to urgent scrutiny and the examination is expected to be finished within three months. Officials from PACC offices across the country would be deployed for the task, he said.
After the inspection is completed, measures will be drawn up on how to fend off the malfeasance, Lt Col Korntip said, adding the ministry’s executives would be informed about these measures so they can improve the internal management in welfare disbursement.
He noted irregularities were also detected in the fund spending at the welfare centre in Chiang Mai, and the PACC will be asked to set up a subcommittee to probe it next week.
PACC assistant secretary-general Wannop Somjintanakul said 15 PACC teams will be deployed to examine the targeted centres, particularly the one in Chiang Mai, where irregularities were found.
A PACC source said 30 people gave information to authorities about irregularities in welfare spending at the Chiang Mai centre.
Cheating would mean people’s rights would be eroded, the source said, adding a 3,000-baht assistance for those living with HIV/Aids is important to boost their quality of life.
The scandal came to light after Panida Yotpanya, 22, a social science student at Maha Sarakham University, and her three friends who worked as interns at the Khon Kaen centre lodged a complaint with the National Council for Peace and Order.
The students, who attended job training there last year, said they were ordered by the centre director Phuangphayom Chitkhom and other senior officials to fill in forms and sign receipts for 2,000 villagers, worth nearly 7 million baht.
The PACC’s initial probe found there were sufficient grounds to set up an investigation. Five other state officials at the centre were also implicated in the scandal.
They have been accused of embezzling state funds, dereliction of duty, falsifying documents and certifying counterfeit documents in violation of the Criminal Code.
The source said the university students will be treated as witnesses.
Referring to the investigation into the case, Thongsuk Na Pol, an investigator attached to the Office of Anti-Corruption in Public Sector Area 4, said the probe found those subject to a 2,000-baht assistance from the centre did not receive any money.
Those subject to be funded to start their own businesses at 3,000 baht did not receive the full payment, the investigator said.
According to Mr Thongsuk, an investigation found two civil servants, three state employees and an outsider were involved in the offence. After the subcommittee concludes the finding, the six will be summoned to acknowledge charges with the PACC, he said.