Sean faces summons for fundraiser
Star 'failed to seek correct permission'
Famous social media influencer Sean Buranahiran will be summoned to clarify donations he raised to help Chiang Mai province fight wildfires earlier this year, Muang Chiang Mai district chief Sarawut Worapong said on Monday.
Mr Sarawut said he has not set a date yet as he needs to talk to Sean first. However, he said donors can file suit against Sean if they think their money has been misused.
The move followed corruption watchdog Srisuwan Janya's revelation this week that the 870,741.50 baht raised by Sean had been used for the Covid-19 pandemic, not the Chiang Mai wildfires. He also alleged that over 250,000 of the money had been spent on media productions for personal benefit.
Sean should be investigated for public fraud in line with Section 341 of the Criminal Code, said Mr Srisuwan, also secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution.
Mr Sarawut said that he has submitted a letter to the provincial governor of Chiang Mai concerning the wildfire fundraising drive by Sean.
The letter states that Sean did not request permission to fundraise in Muang district in accordance with the 1944 Fundraising Control Act.
Sean could be fined and might face other penalties depending on how he spent the donations, said the district chief.
He added that donors can take legal action against Sean if they think he spent the donations improperly.
Sean raised funds to help the district extinguish wildfires from March 30 to May 1.
Khajorn Prasertsri, a village headman from Muang district who worked as a volunteer to fight the wildfires, said he had never met Sean nor received any help from him.
The headman added that he had no knowledge of Sean constructing wildfire barriers or helping to extinguish wildfires in Doi Suthep forests.
Over the weekend the "Sean Buranahiran" Facebook page posted to clarify the issue, saying that the donations were meant for the Chiang Mai wildfires as well as Covid-19, 254,516.53 baht of which was spent on the production of media to raise awareness about the severity of the wildfires. He also urged more experts to help contain the blazes.
The clips had been published on his Facebook page, as well as his Instagram and YouTube accounts, and had received positive feedback, especially from policymakers and young people, he said.
The social media influencer came under fire after he praised Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon as "kind of sweet" in one of his videos. The number of "likes" of his Facebook page subsequently dropped from 4 million to 2.9 million.