Builders uncover corrupt Thai Army practices

Construction workers say they fear for their lives after stumbling over corrupt Royal Thai Army practices while building army premises. The builders employed the help of a lawyer after they discovered shady dealings while working on army housing loan projects, reported Bangkok Post. They are frightened they will be linked to these corrupt practices.

The builders lodged a complaint, via their lawyer, with the Ministry of Defence over alleged corruption within the department’s internal loan system, which implicates at least 20 military officers.

The lawyer acting on behalf of the builders, Paisarn Ruangrit, believes the damage from the alleged graft is between 30 to 40 million baht. He added a previous investigation discovered that the military officers involved in the reported corrupt practices have been promoted.

At least one senior army officer has swindled some of the loan money, by claiming the recipients had to pay a 5% welfare fee and a further unspecified amount called a “loose change” fee.

Paisarn revealed that the army confirmed these fees were illegal.

“The soldiers who obtained the loans were taken aback by the fee deductions. They mistakenly thought the fees were collected by the builders who insisted they had nothing to do with the apparent malpractice.

“The builders learned about the alleged graft in the lending under the army’s welfare programme. That knowledge may have put them in danger, so two of the builders went to the Justice Ministry to request protection.”

The lawyer revealed that the army’s housing loan scheme was abolished last year although the illegal fees were still being charged until recently.

“The fees, which were allegedly pocketed by some senior officers, amounted to millions of baht. The army must offer compensation and provide a clear explanation as to how it intends to make the payouts to hundreds of loan recipients who were charged the illegal fees.”

The army has not provided any explanation about the compensation issue and so that is why the lawyer took up the issue with the Defence Ministry. He added that the names of 20 army officers came up when investigating the illegal loan fees’ money trail. Several of those officers have since retired or resigned from the force.

“The damaged parties will file a police complaint against wrongdoers as the army officers had clearly abused their power by soliciting the illegal fees.”

Crime NewsThailand News

Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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