Missing millions probe “making progress’

PHUKET CITY: Phuket City Police say they are making progress in the investigation into the alleged theft of 2.05 million baht in tsunami-relief funds from Phuket Provincial Hall – but have yet to name any suspects in the case.

Phuket City Police Superintendent Pol Col Paween Pongsirin told the Gazette yesterday that his department would “clear up” the case before the Songkran holiday, but declined to elaborate for fear, he said, of jeopardizing the case.

The money, part of funds intended for distribution to tsunami victims though the Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (ODPM), was reported missing from a strongbox at Phuket Provincial Hall on February 15.

Phuket Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura assigned Vice Governor Supachai Yuwaboon to lead an investigation team into the disappearance. On March 11 the V/Gov said his commission had concluded that the money had been “lost” through “poor accounting” by the ODPM officers charged with distributing it.

This finding was strangely at odds with the police investigation, which found evidence that someone had sawn though one of the locks on the strongbox and pried back its cover.

“We are conducting the investigation as rapidly and thoroughly as possible but have yet to name any suspects. Everything must be finished before Songkran or the middle of the month,” said Col Paween.

Col Paween did not specify whether by “finishing the case”, he was referring to the collection of evidence, the naming of suspects, or the filing of criminal charges.

Phuket News

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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