Alleged graft over Phutthamonthon Foundation leads to arrest of 4 suspects
Four suspects were tracked down and detained in Chanthaburi province on Tuesday morning as part of the “Chanthaboon” operation.
The team nabbed the chief of Chanthaburi’s provincial administrative organisation (PAO), Soi Dao district’s temple chief and two accomplices over alleged corruption in relation to the funding of Phutthamonthon Foundation.
At 6am on Tuesday, officials from Central Investigation Bureau and the Public-Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) along with some 100 police officers raided nine locations in the province to hunt down the suspects.
The operation resulted in the arrest of Chanthaburi PAO chief Thanaphon Kitkan, Wat Suthiwaree abbot Phra Khru Plad Natdanai, the foundation’s director Phuwanat Bamrungphan and Ketsiam Ruamdee, a managing partner of Siam Chang Burapha Construction Company.
The team also seized assets and related documents in the raid.
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The case surfaced when Thanaphon approved a 30-million-baht budget for the construction of the foundation’s office in 2011-2012. He then hired Siam Chang Burapha Construction Company for 12.74 million baht. However, instead of returning the remaining funds to PAO, Thanaphon pocketed the 17.26 million baht and had Phuwanat produce a false construction contract. The abbot and the construction firm’s partner were also linked to the wrongdoing.
Initial examination also showed that the foundation had received up to 106 million baht from PAO between 2009 and 2013. An investigation is ongoing.