(CTN News) – Two senior officials and the former head of the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) are about to face charges of embezzlement of millions of dollars from temple budgets by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
The three individuals implicated, headed by former NOB chairman Nopparat Benjawattananan, are about to face a legal storm as the NACC has already approved decisions in two cases involving alleged temple theft.
The NACC Secretary-General, Niwatchai Kasemmongkol, stated that the collected evidence will be presented to the courts to guarantee justice.
Three famed Ayutthaya temples—Wat Tamnak, Wat Photong, and Wat Jongkolnee—were named in the embezzlement case. Pranom Kongpikul and Wasawat Kittitheerasit, alleged accomplices of Nopparat, are accused of plotting a daring scheme.
Under the pretence of helping out isolated temples in the provinces to the south, they managed to get the temples to fork over an astounding 90% of their yearly funding in 2013.
Trio Accused of 28 Million Baht Embezzlement for Temple Renovations”
Wathanyu Petcharat, who happens to be Nopparat’s brother, was dutifully given a substantial sum of 1.6 million baht by Wat Jongkolnee in response to their demands.
Out of their yearly contribution of one million baht, the other two temples also forked out 900,000 baht. The thorough NACC investigation revealed that all the illicit profits were directed towards Pranom.
Allegedly, the three individuals in question stole 28 million baht from a fund that was supposed to be utilized to renovate five temples in Bangkok, Samut Songkhram, Samut Prakarn, Saraburi, and Nakhon Pathom during the 2014 fiscal year. This information was revealed by the Bangkok Post.
The fact that none of these temples had even applied for NOB renovation budget subsidies adds insult to injury in this scam. The payments, which were in direct contravention of NOB laws, revealed widespread and unfettered corruption at the highest levels of the ecclesiastical establishment.
A former finance and accounting officer was arrested by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) for embezzling more than 700,000 baht from a fund meant to improve and promote the lives of disabled persons.