Finance Ministry threatens legal action against false claims for cash handouts
Recipients of the 5,000 baht/month support payments, who used false information to claim the subsidy, will face legal action and will be forced to repay the money, plus interest.
Mr. Lawan Saengsanit, director of Thailand’s Fiscal Policy Office, said that officials are investigating several social media posts, purportedly by those who have received the first payment of 5,000 baht, describing the amount as just “chickenfeed” of the total they have earned.
Others reportedly boasted that they lied about their economic hardship, caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and still got paid by the state.
Mr. Lawan said that, if it can be proven that recipients used false information to claim the subsidy, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society will demand a refund from them and take legal action for providing false information to the authorities.
24 million people have applied for the payments, mostly through online channels, but the Finance Ministry had set a target of nine million eligible applications.
The screening of all the applications is expected to be completed this Sunday. The applications will be divided into three groups, namely a Green Group which pass the screening process, a Red Group who fail the screening and the Grey Group whose qualifications are unclear.
Mr. Lawan said that, although the one trillion baht fund, to be secured by the Government to help individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic, will be sufficient to fund the handout scheme for up to six months, actual disbursement of the fund might not last that long, depending on the COVID-19 situation.
The first batch of applicants has already received the money via their bank accounts. They are mostly small retailers, small food shops and manual workers.