Former ministers charged over unlawful Thai worker fees in Finland

Picture courtesy of KhaoSod

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Office of the Attorney General have jointly decided to charge four individuals, including two former ministers and two senior executives of the Ministry of Labour, in connection with the unlawful deduction of fees from Thai workers in Finland. The charges were laid under sections 149 and 157, along with sections 83 and 86 of the Penal Code. The losses are estimated at 36 million baht (US$1,029,174).

Phairoj Chotiksathien, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, today clarified the ministry’s position on the matter. He explained that the case involved Thai workers in Finland who were arrested on charges of human trafficking. The arrested individuals claimed they had paid fees, a claim the Ministry of Labour denies any involvement in.

“We have no idea who they paid. It’s a vague accusation. The news has damaged the Ministry’s reputation. The DSI should have sent the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for factual investigation before making any accusations.”

When asked about the origin of the fee charges, Phairoj said information from Finland indicated a group of job brokers was charging workers and claiming it was a fee to be paid to two government officials. He vehemently denied any knowledge or involvement in this, reported KhaoSod.

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In response to what the ministry would do if the allegations proved false, Phairoj said they would have to sue the person who accused us.

“This person is a legal entity who brought the information to the DSI.”

When asked if he had encountered the legal entity in question, Phairoj admitted he knew who it was due to the individual’s release from Finnish police custody. The individual accused the Ministry of receiving funds through a broker, implying some of the money was given to the Director-General of the Department of Employment or political executives. However, there was no evidence to support these claims.

Upon being asked if there was any truth to the collection of funds from the workers, but the money not reaching the ministry, implying potential embezzlement, Phairoj added that the department needed to find out who they paid and who else received the money.”

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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