Graftbusters name 270 in welfare furore
The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has forwarded a list of 270 officials allegedly involved in a welfare fund embezzlement scandal to the Department of Social Development and Welfare to consider disciplinary action.
PACC secretary-general Korntip Daroj said these officials may be transferred from their current positions while the disciplinary investigations are under way and the transfer will not affect the PACC's inquiry.
This group of officials are the first and second batches of people being probed over their alleged involvement in irregularities in welfare projects for the underprivileged.
The schemes were implemented by the centres for the destitute, which are under the Department of Social Development and Welfare. More than 60 centres nationwide are under PACC investigation and the embezzlement scandal first came to light in Khon Kaen in January.
Lt Col Korntip said the officials at the centre for the destitute in the northeastern province of Bung Kan are the first to be charged with graft by the PACC.
He also said it may take a while before the agency wraps up its inquiry into the alleged irregularities because more than 1,000 witnesses will have to be interviewed in each province.
Lt Col Korntip said the agency's plan expand its probe into alleged welfare embezzlement in the third batch involving 28 provinces has yet to proceed. Based on initial information, PACC investigators expect to find irregularities, he said.
According to the PACC secretary-general, the names of high-ranking officials implicated in the scandal have been forwarded to the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) for further action.
Last week, Amlo lodged a complaint with police accusing a former permanent secretary for social development and human security and his close associate of stealing money from state welfare funds for the destitute.
Named in the complaint were Puttipat Lertchaowasit, former permanent secretary for social development and human security, who was a former chief of the Social Development and Welfare Department, and a former female official who was his close aide.
Amlo had earlier issued an order to freeze 88-million-baht worth of assets related to 12 suspects in the scandal including Mr Putthipat and his aide.
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