Two senior officers of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) have been suspended from duty for allegedly taking a bribe of up to 40 million baht in connection with Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC) embezzlement scandal.
DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang said Wednesday the agency had set up a panel to examine the alleged disciplinary violations and under the process, the pair have been suspended.
An investigation into the money trail behind the scandal showed the two DSI officers had indirectly received 40 million baht from Supachai Srisupa-akson, the former KCUC chairman, he said.
The two, who are a couple, are among the suspects implicated previously in the sale of KCUC's land in Nakhon Ratchasima province to Phitsanulok Ethanol Co. This case is being investigated as part of the main probe into the KCUC scandal.
- Earlier report: DSI asked to speed up Dhammajayo investigation
The 1,822 rai of land was reportedly bought by Supachai using the KCUC's embezzled money and the DSI later confiscated the land. In 2013, a joint committee set up to protect KCUC members' rights ordered Supachai to sell the land so the money could be returned to the affected members.
However, according to investigators, the two DSI officers allegedly colluded to terminate the seizure of the land. So Supachai reclaimed ownership of the land and sold it for about 477 million baht to the company.
However, only 100 million baht from the land sale was returned to the cooperative and the rest was transferred into Supachai's personal accounts.
Supachai later claimed he paid a 60-million-baht commission fee for selling the land. Investigators found that up to 40 million baht of the sum went to accounts related to the two DSI officers.
Meanwhile, Thammanoon Attachote, a lawyer representing about 40 members of the KCUC, submitted a letter to the DSI Wednesday, asking that it speed up the investigation and quickly bring Phra Dhammajayo to justice.
The case involves Wat Phra Dhammakaya in Pathum Thani province, which received more than 800 cheques claimed to be donations by Supachai.
Supachai faces several cases in connection with the multi-million-baht embezzlement at the KCUC and is already serving a long prison term.
In one of the cases, Supachai and Phra Dhammajayo, the abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, are among five people charged with laundering money and receiving stolen property.
The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) on Nov 7 postponed a decision on an indictment in the case, saying it had not received a DSI report on the questioning of several additional witnesses. The decision was rescheduled to Nov 30.
Pol Lt Col Pakorn Sucheevakul, chief of the financial and banking case office, said the DSI had already complied with the OAG's orders to question additional witnesses five times.