Probe finds school head took money

Probe finds school head took money

Case highlights deep-seated corruption in education system

Samsenwittayalai School director Viroj Samruan, seen here drumming up support from students last June, vigorously denied taking bribes from parents, but a seven-month investigation allegedly shows that he did.
Samsenwittayalai School director Viroj Samruan, seen here drumming up support from students last June, vigorously denied taking bribes from parents, but a seven-month investigation allegedly shows that he did.

The director of Samsenwittayalai School committed a severe disciplinary violation by accepting payments to enrol students, according to Lt Gen Kosol Prathumchart, adviser to the education minister.

A disciplinary probe into Viroj Samruan, the school director, started after a video clip was released in June last year. It shows a man alleged to be Mr Viroj demanding 400,000 baht in "tea money" from a parent in exchange for enroling his child in the school.

Having looked into the case and examined accounts from all parties, the probe team found the director to be in the wrong.

Lt Gen Kosol said Mr Viroj had taken the money from the parent but failed to put it in state coffers. The probe team also investigated at least two accomplices, but they have not been identified publicly.

Mr Viroj must respond to the charge within 15 days. If he decides to fight it, the probe team will consider the information he presents. If Mr Viroj accepts the findings, the Bangkok education office which will consider a punishment, Lt Gen Kosol said.

In June last year, the director insisted he had never taken a bribe and was being blackmailed by a group of school alumni who were upset because their children could not get into the school. He also claimed the clip allegedly showing the payment had been doctored to defame him, according to the Office of the Basic Education Commission Obec secretary-general Karun Sakulpradit, who oversaw the probe.

Lt Gen Kosol said a severe disciplinary violation warrants dismissal and added he expected the case will be wrapped up next month. He also suggested the school may have taken tea money of up to 8 million baht from other parents. No receipts were issued for these payments. "This is clearly against regulations," said Lt Gen Kosol.

In another case, Lt Gen Kosol said the director of a kindergarten in Lampang is also facing a disciplinary hearing pending likely dismissal by an investigation panel.

The director is accused of taking out a loan from the school's finances and having his former secretary act as guarantor. He failed to repay the loan and the secretary is now struggling to service the debt. Lt Gen Kosol added the director allegedly spent the money on personal treats, including overseas trips.

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Vocabulary

  • accomplice: a person who helps someone else to commit a crime or to do something morally wrong - ผู้สมรู้ร่วมคิด
  • alumni: the former male and female students of a school, college or university - ศิษย์เก่า
  • blackmail (verb): to force somebody to give you money or do something for you by threatening them, for example by saying you will tell people a secret about them - ขู่เข็ญเอาเงิน
  • coffers (noun): places where money is kept - กองเงิน
  • defame: to say or write something bad about someone that is not true and makes other people have a bad opinion of them - ทำลายชื่อเสียง
  • disciplinary: related to the punishment of people who do not obey the rules - การลงโทษเนื่องจากการฝ่าฝืนวินัย หรือระเบียบ
  • dismissal: removing someone from a job -
  • doctor: to change a document, tape, film, etc. in order to deceive people - ปลอมแปลงเพื่อหลอกลวง
  • enrol: to put yourself onto the official list of members of a course or college - ลงทะเบียน
  • pending: waiting to be dealt with, settled or completed - ยังค้างอยู่, ซึ่งยังไม่จบสิ้น, อยู่ในระหว่าง
  • service debt (verb): pay interest on money that has been borrowed -
  • tea money: bribe, money given to government official to get a favour, special treatment or to do something faster - เงินสินบน, เงินที่ให้แก่บุคคลเพื่อจูงใจให้ผู้นั้นกระทำการหรือไม่กระทำการอย่างใดในตำแหน่ง ไม่ว่าการนั้นจะชอบหรือมิชอบด้วยหน้าที่
  • violation: an action that is against a law, agreement, principle, etc. - การฝ่าฝืน
  • warrant: to be/make necessary or appropriate in a particular situation - มีเหตุผลอันสมควร
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