THE FOURTH round of investigations into the embezzlement of state funds meant for temple development has found at least another 30 temples alleged to have broken the law, with damages worth Bt100 million, a source at the Counter Corruption Division (CCD) of Royal Thai Police revealed yesterday.
The latest round targeted 60 temples in 13 provinces of upper Thailand, with 30 out of the 40 temples checked so far found to have committed wrongdoing, the source said.
CCD chief Pol Maj-General Kamol Rienracha, however, said the agency’s investigation into the National Buddhism Office’s (NBO) budget allocated for temple development during 2011-2016 was only about half completed and was still ongoing.
Although investigators have detected wrongdoings involving civil servants and monks, he declined to give the exact number of temples and suspects as that information wasn’t yet concluded pending further careful enquiries.
Meanwhile, Crime Suppression Division (CSD) commander Pol Maj-General Maitree Chimcherd warned against aiding two senior monks wanted for alleged embezzlement of state funds meant for the Dhamma schools. Any disciple who provided lodging or by any means assisted in enabling the two senior monks to avoid arrest could be punished with imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine not exceeding Bt40,000, or both.
Phra Phromsitti, the abbot of Sa Ket Temple, and Phra Phrommedhi, an assistant abbot at Samphanthawongsaram Temple, who were believed to be in hiding in Thailand, had not yet contacted police to surrender, Maitree said.
Phra Phromsitti might have fled the temple on May 23 afternoon with the help of close aides, and he might be hiding at one of their homes, said CSD 1 superintendent Pol Colonel Thongchai Yooket.