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Former National Buddhism Director Gets 94 Years for Embezzlement

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Thailand’s Former National Office of Buddhism director Phanom Sornsilp has been sentenced to 94 years for embezzlement of temples funds. The Central Criminal Court ruled on his case Tuesday.

The court considered the sixth and seventh temples fund embezzlement cases against Phanom. Concerning the allocation of Buddhism promotion funds by his National Office of Buddhism. To temples in Nonthaburi province in 2013 and 2014.

The court found him and accomplices guilty of embezzlement of about 50 million baht. The bulk of temples funds the Buddhism office allocated to Wat Bang Oi Chang; Wat Sri Ruang Boon and Wat Mai Phadung Khet temples.

The office allocated a total of 80 million baht to the temples during the period.

The court also found that the National Office of Buddhism had allocated the money on several occasions to the three temples. Which were not even eligible for some of the funds.

A subordinate of Phanom managed to negotiate with the management of the temples for the kickbacks.

Phanom’s latest jail term was 52 years and eight months, raising his total sentence to 94 years. He and other defendants were also ordered to return the embezzled money to the Buddhism office.

Other defendants were the kickback negotiator Boonlert Sopha, 57. Who was a Buddhism study director in Lampang province. Narongdet Chainet, former Buddhism promotion director, Patana Su-ammatmontri, 53; former Buddhism promotion specialist; Kaeo Chittakob, 54, former Buddhism study specialist; and Pornpen Kittitarangkun, 51;, another former Buddhism study specialist.

Their jail terms ranged from about six years to 56 years, the Bangkok Post reported.

Furthermore all the defendants denied all charges. They have also been denied bail since their arrest in 2018.

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