Anti-graft officials find evidence of corruption at Khon Kaen protection center

Officials of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has found evidence of corruption in the management of state fund to help low-income earners and the HIV-positive by Khon Kaen Protection Center for the Destitute.

Pol Gen Jarumporn Suramanee, a PACC commissioner, said Tuesday (Feb 13) that a subcommittee had been set up to investigate suspected corruption in the center.

The center’s director, an official and three employees are to be probed for suspected involvement in the mismanagement of the fund to help the low-income earners and people infected with HIV to the tune of 6.7 million baht.

The suspected corruption was exposed by Ms Panita Yotpanya, a student of the faculty of humanities and community development of Mahasarakham University who worked at the center as a trainee and Ms Natthakarn Muenphol, a former employee of the center.

Ms Panita told PACC officials that she worked as a trainee at the center during August-November last year during which she was assigned to be in charge of the center’s documentation.  

She said she was told to sign in the receipts on behalf of some 2,000 people eligible to receive funding from the center because most of the fund recipients are illiterate.  However, she added that she found the activities of the center’s officials suspicious and lodged a complaint with the National Council for Peace and Order.

The Khon Kaen Protection Center for the Destitute, under the Department of Social Development and Welfare, was allotted with 6.8 million baht to help 2,000 people eligible for help.  Each is eligible to 2,000 baht funding, but low-income earners are eligible to an addition of 3,000 baht each to start a business.

However, Pol Gen Jarumporn said many recipients were not paid the full amount promised while others did not receive any financial support at all.  

He said the center director and an official would face charges of malfeasance in office while the three employees would be treated as supporters.

The Khon Kaen cases, he added, will serve as a model for the examination of fund management at 30 protection centers for the destitute nationwide.