Official arrested for pocketing B13m Covid money for disabled

Police search a backpack belonging to Pisal Sukjaitham after he was arrested in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai on Sunday.

An official in charge of finance at the Social Development and Human Security Ministry was arrested on Sunday for allegedly stealing 13 million baht earmarked for disabled people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Anti-Corruption Divison commander Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiart Pankaew said Pisal Sukjaitham, 41, was apprehended in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai under an arrest warrant on fraud charges.

The ministry registered a complaint at Phaya Thai police station accusing Mr Pisal of pocketing the money set aside for helping people with a disability suffering from Covid-19. The case was later handled by the Anti-Corruption Division.

The ministry took action after finding a budget of 13 million baht had been transferred to its accounts — but somehow ended up in his personal bank accounts.

It did not specify when the crimes had been committed and police did not give details about the man’s detention in Mae Sai.

Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiart only said the suspect was believed to be trying to flee to Myanmar.

Phaya Thai police chief Pol Col Bowornpob Soonthornreakha said Mr Pisal denied the allegation.

He was sent to the Anti-Corruption Division for further interrogation. Police planned to forward the case to the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct on Monday.

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