Buddhist group calls for removal of National Buddhism Office chief  

A group of disciples and followers today (April 24) asked the government to sack Pol Lt-Col Pongporn Pramsaneh director of the National Office of Buddhism (NOB), whom they accused of power abuse for filing  corruption charges against five senior monks.

Calling themselves “Buddhist Group for Phalangpaendin”, a group leader Charoon Wanakasinanond, first lodged abuse of power complaint against Pol Lt-Col Pongporn to the Counter Corruption Police Division (CCPD).

After submitting the complaint to the CCPD commander Pol Maj-Gen Kamol Rienracha, the group then moved to the Government House to submit the complaint to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, calling on him to sack the NOB director within one month.

They threatened to hold a rally if their demand was not met.

The NOB chief earlier this month lodged complaint to the CCPD against the five senior monks, three of them are members of the Supreme Sangha Council of Thailand, for alleged embezzlement of fund for renovation of religious schools at three temples in Bangkok.

The group claimed that Pol Lt-Col Pongporn, who also served as secretary of the Sangha Supreme Council, had no authority to make accusations against the senior monks and had no rights to investigate corruption in monastic affairs.

The Office of the Auditor’s General is in charge of monitoring the use of all monastic funds.

The group said Pol Lt-Col Pongporn’s move had destroyed the faith of the people in Buddhism and affected temple’s development.

Prime Minister’s Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana, who oversees the NOB, recently revealed that he had met with Deputy Prime Minister Gen Chatchai Sarikulya to discuss the investigation into the alleged corruption of the monastic fund.

Mr Suwaphan said the investigation focuses on alleged corruption of corruption of state budget allocated for three missions–temple renovations; educational support for the Phra Pariyattidhamma Schools; and Buddhism promotion.