11 July 2024

The former abbot of Wat Saket, who is also a former member of the Sangha Council, was today sentenced to 36 months in prison, with the term suspended for two years, after he was found guilty, by the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases, of being an accessory in a case of corruption relating to temple funds intended for a training programme.

Four other officials from the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) were also found guilty of malfeasance, in office in connection with the allocation of a 69 million baht fund from the NOB for Wat Saket to organize two training programmes. 37.2 million baht was for an ethical training programme and 32.5 million baht for a centre for a Buddhism propagation project.

The court handed down sentences of two years and 12 months to 60-year old Panom Sornsilp, former NOB director and three years and 18 months each for 64-year old Chayapol Pongsida, former NOB deputy director, Narongdet Chaiyanet, former director of Buddhism Promotion Division and 50-year old Pattana Su-ammartmontri, a religious affairs specialist attached to the Buddhism Promotion Department.

Regarding the former abbot of Wat Saket, Phra Prommasith Thongchai Sukkho or Thongchai Sukkho, the court ruled that the defendant was not a government official and was just an accessory in the commission of the offences.  He was sentenced to 36 months in jail and fined 27,000 baht, but the imprisonment was suspended because of his previous good deeds and the fact that this was his first offence.