TTVI chief Khemmarin transferred

BANGKOK (Kom Chad Luek/Gazette): Pol Col Khemmarin Hassiri, the Superintendent in charge of the Thailand Tsunami Victim Identification (TTVI) center, has been transferred to an inactive position at the Police Forensic Science Office pending an investigation into allegations that money donated to the TTVI was used improperly.

Ireland and Denmark have now added their names to the list of countries demanding an explanation from Thai police as to how funds donated by those countries were used.

The allegations were initially made by the foreign diplomatic missions of Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, the US and France.

Col Khemmarin yesterday told the Gazette that he was not worried by his transfer as it did not indicate that he himself was under suspicion.

He added, however, that the move would have an impact on TTVI’s work at Bangmaruan Cemetery, in Phang Nga province, as the team would be leaderless.

Col Khemmarin said that the results of the investigation into his team would be announced February 9.

Pol Gen Achilawit Subarnbhesaj, Deputy Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police, explained that Col Khemmarin’s transfer was in line with standard practice to allow for transparency in an investigation.

He added that the American Embassy in Bangkok has hired international law firm Baker & McKenzie to audit the TTVI’s finances from June 2005 to May 30, 2006, when the project’s finances were under the control of an international administrative committee.

On June 1, 2006, administration of the TTVI was handed over to a panel comprising Royal Thai Police officers and one foreign auditor.

The TTVI’s finances since June 1, 2006 will be investigated by the Office of the Auditor General of Thailand, Gen Achilawit said.

Phuket News

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