Author Topic: PACC uncovers flood relief graft, plus illegal ID-cards  (Read 767 times)


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PACC uncovers flood relief graft, plus illegal ID-cards
« on: January 04, 2011, 05:46:31 PM »
PACC uncovers flood relief graft, plus illegal ID-cards
By Piyanuch Thamnukasetchai

Unnecessary withdrawals from the disaster budget, national ID cards issued to alleged Wa drug dealers and an illegal land title deed issued to investors - these were some cases of graft found by the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) over the past year.

PACC acting chief Ampol Wongsiri said yesterday that the commission, given the job of investigating disaster budget spending by the premier late last year, dispatched officials to randomly check on provinces supposedly hit by a disaster, such as Sakhon Nakhon and Roi Et. They found some district officers sought unnecessary funds from the local administration body, while some provinces said they were spending the Bt6-million disaster budget on relief bags, when they were just hit by heavy rains and not flooded.

Budgets sought for repair were also exaggerated and, in some cases, university students were named as project contractors without their knowledge.

PACC staff also looked into the suspicious issuing of land title deeds in areas such as Nakhon Ratchasima's Sikhiu district. An investor reportedly bought land given to farmers under the agricultural reform project, had title deeds issued for them and later encroached into forestland in order to build a golf course. The PACC is taking legal action over five to six plots covering 300 rai.

The same investor is also accused of encroaching on a mangrove forest in Krabi, where his child was allegedly named as the landlord. Once the title deed for the forestland was obtained, there was further encroachment onto 12 rai on a nearby mountain.

Ampol said the PACC had concluded the cases in Nakhon Ratchasima and Krabi, and was passing them to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to take action against the state officials involved.

It has also urged the Land Department to revoke the title deeds, and forwarded the case to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to take action against the investor for encroaching on state land.

The PACC, part of the Justice Ministry, has also looked into the issuing of Thai identity cards, especially to ethnic Wa people in the North, who are believed to be drug dealers.

Another case looked into state funding for reforestation, as the government plans to cut this budget by more than half.

Ampol said under the reforestation project, 120 employees were on the books, when only 30 people worked on the project. He said the other 90 "employees" died long ago - so it looked like the government was hiring ghosts.

Ampol said he believed there was no plan to merge the PACC and NACC, as rumoured. The agency had two main duties: to suppress graft and implement an anti-corruption policy. This month should see Parliament setting up a board of directors for the commission, he said.

The Nation