Mrs Rojana Sinthee, a C8-level official of the Education Ministry, who was found to have cheated more than 88 million baht from the Sema Pattana Chewit Fund for poor students for the past ten years, was sacked today (Monday).
The civil service subcommittee of the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Education chaired by Mr Karun Sakulpradit, the permanent secretary, spent more than three hours considering the embezzlement case against Mrs Rojana.
The subcommittee ruled her guilty of gross disciplinary violations by a unanimous vote of 7 against nil for not performing her duties as required by law, regulations and cabinet resolutions and for filing false reports to her superiors in connection with the disbursement of the students’ fund supposed for poor students.
The subcommittee also decided to dismiss her from civil service with immediate effect starting today.
Investigation by officials from the Public Section Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) shows that many poor students who were eligible to receive financial support from the Fund were partially paid or were not paid at all with the money being diverted into Mrs Rojana’s bank account, her relatives and other accomplices.
Earlier in the morning before the meeting of the civil service subcommittee
In the afternoon, Education Minister Thirakiart Charoensetthasilp told the media that he had to act decisively regarding the alleged embezzlement concerning the students’ fund because getting rid of corruption is part and parcel of educational reform.
He said he didn’t believe Mrs Rojaja was the only person involved in the alleged cheating of the students’ fund and, hence, the Anti-Money Laundering Office was brought in to help in the investigation to track the money trail to find out how many more individuals were involved in the alleged cheats.
Due to the exposure of corruption in the students’ fund, the minister said he had instructed all units under the supervision of the Education Ministry to examine their respective accounting systems to make sure they are transparent and accountable.
Since the Education Ministry is regarded as a legally injured party, Mr Thirakiart said the ministry would try to claim back the embezzled money from the embezzlers so that the money can be sent to the needy students.
In case the ministry manages to reclaim only some of the embezzled money, he said the ministry would go after active and former executives of the ministry who were responsible for approving the disbursement of the fund supposed for needy students but were cheated by the corrupt officials.
Although the officials were not involved in the cheats, but because they were responsible for looking after the fund, they would be held accountable for dereliction of duty, he explained.