Former senior official under graft probe commits suicide

Former permanent secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security Mr Puttipat Lertchaowasit died at his residence in Pathum Thani after taking poison in what is believed to be a  suicide.

His wife also took poison but was still alive when both were rushed to Pathumthani hospital this morning.  She was in critical condition.

The former permanent secretary was dismissed after he and his deputy were found to be involved in the controversial corruption of state budgets allocated to the destitute and the handicapped nationwide.

Both were found to be lying on the bed when charity foundation workers were alerted.

The prime minister in February thus year  ordered an abrupt transfer of Mr Puttipat Lertchaowasit and his deputy, Narong Kongkham to facilitate the ongoing investigation into alleged widespread corruption in the spending of the fund for the destitute by over 30 centres for the protection of the destitute across the country.

The probe is jointly undertaken by the Office of the Auditor-General and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

Investigation by the OAG found there was bases of corruption in the use of the fund for the destitute since Mr Puttipat was director-general of Welfare Development Department.

The PM’s transfer order mentioned that some senior officials of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security might be involved in the alleged corruption and a panel would be set up to further investigate the case to ensure fairness to those implicated.

The two officials’ new posts are senior advisors to the Prime Minister and will report to Deputy Prime Minister Gen Chatchai Sarikulya.