Ex-NOB boss loses court graft appeal
The Appeal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases has upheld a 20-year jail sentence given to the former chief of National Office of Buddhism (NOB) Phanom Sornsilp for embezzling temple funds.
Mr Phanom was found guilty last year by the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases of the charges related to the embezzlement scandal and sentenced to 20 years in jail.
Also found guilty of embezzlement were Wasawad Kittitheerasit, former head of the NOB's temple renovation and development unit, Jetsada Wongmek and Charin Mingkwan, who were construction contractors.
The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases sentenced Wasawad to 20 years in prison, Jetsada to six years and eight months in jail and Charin to one year and eight months in prison.
The funds were allocated by the NOB to finance renovation and maintenance at several Buddhist temples. The defendants were accused of offering funds for temples but instructing them to return the money under the table for their personal use.
Phanom, Wasawad and Jetsada were ordered to jointly pay 12 million back to the state while Charin was ordered to return 3 million baht.
The four defendants appealed the ruling and were denied bail during the appeal.
In upholding the ruling, the Appeal Court said it reviewed the case and there were grounds to believe the four defendants had conspired to embezzle the temple funds and concurred with the lower's court decision.
The Appeal Court's ruling was given on Oct 21 but was only made public yesterday.