B68m aid for Chiang Mai ethnic people disappears

B68m aid for Chiang Mai ethnic people disappears

A Mon woman demonstrates weaving techniques in Bangkok in August 2016. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A Mon woman demonstrates weaving techniques in Bangkok in August 2016. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Another corruption case of public funds has been uncovered in Chiang Mai, where ethnic groups said they never received disbursed welfare aids worth almost 68 million baht in total.

The 2017 budget was allocated to the centre for the development of hill tribes people in the northern province, totalling 67.9 million baht.

The funds had been withdrawn for 14 districts -- Chom Thong (11 million baht), Phrao (9.4 million), Fang (8.5 million baht), Chiang Dao (6.1 million), Mae Ai (5.1 million), Mae Taeng (5 million), Mae Wang (3.7 million), Omkoi (3.5 million), Galyani Vadhana (2.8 million), Mae Rim (2.8 million), Samoeng (2.5 million), Mae Chaem (2.3 million), Wiang Haeng (2.3 million) and Chai Prakan (1.9 million).

All 67.9 million baht was withdrawn in 171 disbursements.

Pol Gen Charamporn Suramanee, a public sector anti-corruption commissioner, found the budget had been withdrawn but never reached recipients in the districts.

"We talked to villagers in tambon Kued Chang in Mae Taeng, where five of all 36 eligible people hold Thai nationality. They told us they had never received any money. A look into the alleged receipts of 18 ethnic people showed the same results," he said on Thursday.

As well, 36 intended recipients in Moo 8, including the tambon head, also said they had never got the money, he added.

The area heads in Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Chiang Dao were identified as the recipients of 2.8 million baht, 5 million and 6 million baht respectively to be distributed to the villagers in their care. However, they insisted they had not received the funds.

All heads of the affected areas were transferred to the Department of Social Development and Welfare under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, pending an investigation into their possible involvement.

Napa Settakorn, director-general of the Social Development and Welfare Department, said on Thursday the department planned to solve the problem by transferring money directly to the bank accounts of the recipients or through PromptPay.

“In case of relief emergency payments where cash must be handed out, clear records must be kept and photos taken as proof of payments,” she said.

She added a panel would also be set up in each province to determine the eligibility of recipients instead of allowing chiefs of the centres to determine who should get the aid.  


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