Senior Golden Mount monks get suspended jail for B10m fraud

Senior Golden Mount monks get suspended jail for B10m fraud

Terd Wongcha-um, 49, is taken into police custody from a hospital in Bangkok in May 2018. At that time he was Phra Wichit Thammaporn, assistant abbot of the Temple of the Golden Mount. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Terd Wongcha-um, 49, is taken into police custody from a hospital in Bangkok in May 2018. At that time he was Phra Wichit Thammaporn, assistant abbot of the Temple of the Golden Mount. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases on Tuesday handed down suspended prison terms for two former assistant abbots of the Temple of the Golden Mount in a 10-million-baht budget embezzlement case.

The court sentenced Sangkom Sangkapat, 49, and Terd Wongcha-um, 49, each to six years and also to 24 months in jail, and a fine of 168,000 baht.

They were each found guilty on six charges.

Their prison sentences were suspended for one year under Section 56 of the Criminal Code (amended) because they had not offended previously and had practised Buddhism during their time in the monkhood.

Public prosecutors charged that on Aug 22, 2018, the two then-assistant abbots at Wat Sa Ket (Golden Mount) sought the money from the National Office of Buddhism in 2014 to fund the general education section at the temple's school. In  fact, the section did not exist.

They had been released on bail of 2 million baht each on Aug 15 last year, pending sentencing.

The other defendant, a layman, Thawit Sangyu, 45, was acquitted. He had been arraigned for spending the money on behalf of the two assistant abbots, on their instructions.

A former abbot of Wat Sa Ket was earlier sentenced to a suspended jail term of 36 months and fined 27,000 baht for embezzlement of 69.7 million baht in temple funds.


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