Update: Government official who allegedly stole funds intended for people with disabilities spent all money on gambling
In an update to yesterday’s story, Pisal Sukjaitham, the government official who was arrested for allegedly embezzling 13 million baht from a fund for people with disabilities, allegedly confessed, after being questioned, that ‘he had spent all the money he had stolen to gamble. In another development in the story, INN says officials are now saying 45 million baht was stolen from the fund, not 15 million.
Yesterday, Pisal was taken to a Bangkok court which focuses on corruption cases. He is still in custody. Officers are still looking for other officials who could be involved in the theft.
The original story…
An investigation into the embezzlement of 13 million baht allocated to people with disabilities seeks to find out how many officials have been implicated in the corruption. The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security plans to further investigate the matter and Permanent Secretary Patcharee Arayakul said the investigation is already underway.
The investigation follows the arrest of a C-6 official. Pisal Sukjaitham was arrested in Chaing Rai on Sunday. Pisal is accused of stealing 13 million baht from June to August of this year. The permanent secretary said Pisal had been temporarily suspended from duty to allow the investigation to continue without his obstruction. Patcharee says the theft could be even larger than the original 13 million baht figure.
Previously, Pisal was one of the finance officers in the ministry’s disability empowerment department, which gave him access to the ministry’s financial accounts. Pisal would have exploited this access to transfer 13 million baht intended for disabled people impacted by Covid to his personal accounts. The official’s accounts are now frozen, Patcharee said.
Patcharee says she first noticed something was wrong after authorities verified the financial transactions on September 13. She says that a complaint was then lodged with Phaya Thai police; the anti-corruption division of the Royal Thai Police would eventually take over the case. An arrest warrant was issued for Pisal last Friday and he was arrested 2 days later. Before being arrested, Pisal allegedly tried to escape. Police said he was trying to escape to Myanmar. Pisal has denied all charges against him.