Korat lawyers to help old folk ordered to return payments

Korat lawyers to help old folk ordered to return payments

Pornthep Charoenpong-anan, chairman of the Nakhon Ratchasima Lawyers Council.
Pornthep Charoenpong-anan, chairman of the Nakhon Ratchasima Lawyers Council.

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: The Lawyers Council of Nakhon Ratchasima is offering legal assistance to elderly people ordered to refund an age allowance they had been receiving for many years.

Thirteen pensioners in tambon Cho Ho of Muang district have been told by Tambon Cho Ho Municipality they must return all the money they were paid over the last 10 years or more.

The Finance Ministry's comptroller general's department late last year discovered they were  ineligible for the allowance because they received a separate monthly pension, mostly because of the death a husband in the service of the state.

This led to Tambon Cho Ho Municipality sending them letters telling them to return the money.

One of them, Samrit Phusawang, 83, had received the monthly allowance for more than 14 years, from April 2006 to November 2020. She was ordered to return to the state 83,383 baht, including interest.

She was found to have already been receiving a monthly pension because her husband died on official duty.

A statement issued by the municipality on Tuesday said nine of the 13 agreed to return the money in instalments, but four declined to make the repayment.

This led to the municipality filing lawsuits against them in the Nakhon Ratchasima Municipal Court. The court scheduled Feb 14 for prima facie examination.

Pornthep Charoenpong-anan, chairman of the Nakhon Ratchasima Lawyers Council, said on Wednesday the cases fell in the area of "undue enrichment". 

Based on previous Supreme Court rulings in similar cases, they have to return the money, he said. However, if they have used the money, they do not have to do so, he said.

He said the lawyers council will provide legal assistance free of charge for the 13 cases in tambon Cho Ho, so they can contest the case in court.

Mr Pornthep said he would contact them or their relatives to give them advice.

In Buri Ram, another case involving a old woman receiving an age allowance was revealed on Tuesday.

Tim Sangsanit, 89, of tambon Lam Sai Yong in Nang Rong district, has been told by the tambon administration organisation to return a total of 121,800 baht she had received over 16 years.

She was found to have received a separate monthly special pension because one of her sons, a border patrol police officer, was declared missing in action after an attack on a BPP base in Tak's Umphang district by a Karen force in about 1992, in which there were many casualties.

Grandma Tim said she had been unaware she was not entitled to the money, until contacted by the TAO. 

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