37 centres for the destitute are targeted for priority probe of suspected graft

The Public Section Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has eyed 37 centres for the protection of the destitute as priority targets for investigation of suspected corruption regarding funding for the destitute.

PACC deputy secretary-general Lt-Col Kornthip Darote said Wednesday that PACC had sent officials to 70 centres throughout the country to probe whether there is corruption in the management of funding for the destitute or not following the recent exposure of corruption at the centre in Khon Kaen province by student trainees at the centre.

Of the 70 centres checked by the officials, he said that there were 37 of them under suspicion and which would be subjected to further investigation as a matter of priority.

The PACC deputy secretary-general said it would take about three months to wrap up the investigation of the 37 centres, including the one in Chiang Mai, and to mete out measures to prevent misuse of funding at the centres.

An informed source said that investigating officials were expected to wrap up the case in Chiang Mai to the PACC board for consideration.

PACC assistant secretary-general Pol Lt-Col Wannop Somjintanakul said 15 teams of officials had been dispatched to investigate the 37 targeted centres, including the one in Chiang Mai, across the country.

Regarding the four whistleblowers, student trainees from Maha Sarakham University, who exposed the alleged corruption at the Khon Kaen centre, Wannop said that military personnel from the Internal Security Operations Command had been deployed to give them protection for their safety.

The student trainees reportedly said they were told to forge the signatures of the destitute eligible for the fund handouts in their receipts issued by the centre in Khon Kaen.

It was discovered that many of the destitute people did not receive the funding while others received less than the amounts specified in the receipts.

The Khon Kaen centre’s director and a staff member plus three employees are now under investigation for alleged corruption.