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Parliament President Downplays Rumors House Members Pocketing Money

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Thailand’s Parliament President Chuan Leekpai flatly denied the rumors, and said that all funding, whether spent or unspent must be accounted for.

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BANGKOK – Parliament President Chuan Leekpai has called a meeting House Committee members to quash rumors of money pocketing. He called a meeting to remind House members over Spending rules.

The meeting comes after allegations members allocated themselves Bt100,000 each from an unspent Bt 90-million budget. Mr Chuan said on Monday he was shocked to hear such rumors.

Anything left unspent is supposed to be returned to state coffers before the end of the fiscal year he said.

However, according to the rumors, the unspent budget ended up in the pockets of standing committee members.

Mr Chuan flatly denied the alleged rumors, saying all funding, whether spent or unspent must be accounted for.

“Any leftover money has to and will be put back into the central budget because it belongs to the taxpayer. It its not for sharing among the committee members” he said.

“I’m also asking parliamentary officials to keep tabs on budget spending,” he added.

Dr. Sukij Atthopakorn, an adviser said he scheduled to chair a meeting of House standing committees to outline spending rules today.

A clear set of criteria will be laid down governing the disbursement of funds by committees;including meeting allowance; accommodation stipends; money for hosting conferences and travel expenses for committee members.

Dr Sukij said there is no longer a budget for overseas study tours for House members. This follows many complaints over MPs using government money to go on holidays.

He said the rumors about the committee were “intended to trample on parliament’s reputation”.

Chavalit Wichayasut, deputy chairman of the House law, justice and human rights committee, also dismissed the rumors.  No one would risk prosecution by pocketing unspent money, he said.

Source: The Bangkok Post