B2m aid theft probe extended

PHUKET: The deadline for completion of the vice-gubernatorial investigation into the theft of more than 2 million baht of tsunami aid money has been extended. It will now conclude on March 11, Governor Usdomsak Usawarangkura said.

The original deadline for the investigation – led by Vice-Governor Supachai Yuwaboon and separate from the criminal investigation by the police – was March 2.

However, the Governor said, V/Gov Supachai had told him that his enquiries would involve more people than previously thought, and his committee would need to continue its work until March 11. This is also the day when the police are due to conclude their criminal investigation.

The money – 2,050,000 kept in a safe in a strong room at Phuket Provincial Hall – was reported missing on February 15 by the Chief of the Phuket Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation(ODPM), Metha Mekarat.

Gov Udomsak said officers from the ODPM and officers assigned to look after the room were currently under the closest scrutiny.

The police investigation is centering on collecting evidence to bring a criminal prosecution, while V/Gov Supachai’s committee is gathering information to sue whoever is responsible for the theft in the Civil Court wih the aim of getting the money back.

The Governor added that officers found to have committed a crime would be punished. The maximum punishment the Civil Service can impose is to fire them.

Phuket News
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