2 monks questioned about temple fund embezzlement scheme

Two senior monks have been released without charge after answering questions in connection to a temple fund embezzlement and money-laundering scheme.

The monks, one from Lop Buri province in central Thailand, and the other from Nonthaburi province, deny any wrongdoing.

Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat Pankaew, commander of the police Anti-Corruption Division and police investigators, yesterday met with the abbot of Wat Kawisararam in Lop Buri, Phra Thep Senabodi, and the abbot of Wat Bang Oychang in Bang Kruay district of Nonthaburi, Phra Udomsitthinayok.

Both abbots denied they were involved in any embezzlement, or a money-laundering scheme, involving former senior officials at the National Office of Buddhism and monks, and were released from custody.

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A police investigation discovered that a 30 million baht donation to the temple fund in 2014, to support the education of monks and novices, had not been used by the NOB.

Phra Thep Senabodi, also the Lop Buri provincial monastic chief, says the money had been used to finance the extension of Winitsuksa School under the temple’s care. Investigators discovered otherwise, saying they found irregularities in the use of the temple fund.

Phra Udomsitthinayok, also the deputy provincial monastic chief in Nonthaburi, was questioned by investigators about a graft in the use of a 13 million baht fund allocated by the NOB in 2013 to Wat Bang Oychang to support Phra Pariyadham School. The inquiry revealed the temple never received a permit to set up the Dhamma teaching school.

The investigation also discovered allocated budgets valued at about 18.5 million baht to support other projects at the temple had not been carried out by the NOB.

The investigators found that Phra Udomsittinayok had withdrawn 23.5 million baht and returned the money to Boonlert Sopha, a former NOB director, who was sentenced to jail in 2020 for his involvement as broker in the deal.

SOURCE Bangkok Post

Thailand 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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