Corruption probe expands to cover all provinces in Upper North

The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is now expanding corruption probe to cover all eight provinces in Upper North after earlier probes in Chiang Mai and Nan gained strong grounds of corruption by local authorities of the centres for the protection of the destitutes.

PACC Region 5 director Krisana Krasaevej said random checks of the destitute people in Chiang Mai and Nan provinces by his officials initially gained grounds of irregularities by local authorities.

He said PACC officials spent over two weeks in making random survey of destitute people in Chiang Mai and Nan. Some destitute people asked by the PACC officials said they were visited by social welfare workers and asked for photo copies of their ID cards with claim that they would used to reimburse funds for them.

He said evidences collected now were substantial to indict these officials for corruption.

The irregularities were categorised into four groups, he said.

The first group comprised destitute people whose signatures were forged in the cash receipts as recipient of the fund, but they didn't receive any money.

The second group comprised destitute people who had proper documentation but received partial payment from the fund.

The third group comprised destitute people whose documents and signatures were forged and received partial payments from the fund.

The last group comprised those who received full payment, but checks found they were not qualified to receive the fund for the destitute.

Beginning next week, Mr Krisana said the PACC officials would expand investigation to cover all the remaining six provinces in the Upper North region including Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phayao, Phrae, and Mae Hong Son.

A source said Nan Protection Centre for the Destitute was allocated 1.3 milllion baht budget to distribute to destitute people in the province, including the poor, the handicapped, and AIDS patients, while Chiang Mai Protection Centre for the Desitute was allocated over 10 million last year.

There were around 1,000 destitute people qualified to receive the aid money in Chiang Mai. Of this number, 500 were in Fang district alone and this was suspicious, according to the source.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (ThaiPBS)