Thai officials dismissed as over US$57 million found in bank accounts raises corruption concerns

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6th December 2023 – (Bangkok) Four Thai officials have been removed from their positions after authorities discovered more than two billion baht (US$57 million) in their bank accounts, highlighting concerns of corruption within the Southeast Asian nation. While corruption allegations involving small bribes and pay-offs are common in Thailand, such large sums are rare.

The investigation revealed that the approximately US$57 million was spread across multiple accounts held by three women and one man working in the Revenue Department in Samut Prakhan province, near the capital city of Bangkok.

Following the discovery, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has referred the case to the attorney-general’s office and requested an investigation by the Criminal Court for Corruption.

The NACC described the four officials as “unusually wealthy,” according to Sornchai Chuwichian, the assistant secretary-general and deputy spokesperson of the NACC. The officials’ listed assets, including their bank deposits, were found to be disproportionate to their government incomes, raising suspicions of corruption.

None of the individuals could provide a satisfactory explanation for the source of the substantial funds, added Sornchai.

Among the officials, Danai Damrongchaiyothin held 1.1 billion baht ($31 million) across seven accounts, while one of the women had over 500 million baht ($14 million) distributed among five accounts. It is worth noting that the starting salary for a revenue official is less than $450 per month.

The NACC statement confirmed that all four officials have been dismissed from their government positions, yet it did not specify whether they have been charged or arrested in connection with the case.