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.

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