12 July 2024

National Office of Buddhism former director Nopparat Benjawattananant has been faulted by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for being unusually wealthy, having suspiciously amassed assets worth about 575 million baht during his four-year tenure.

NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon told the media today that the anti-graft agency suspected that Mr. Nopparat might be involved in corruption related to funding allocated for the renovation of Wat Pananchoeng during 2014-2015 fiscal years. It was discovered that the assets that he and his wife, Mrs. Pattanan, declared to the NACC, including land, houses, vehicles and life insurance policies, were not proportionate to their incomes.

A probe team, led by Ms. Supa Piyachitti, investigated the couple’s usual wealth and discovered even more assets held in the names of their relatives and other people.

The acquired assets include:

  • 98.6 million baht in assets held in Nopparat’s name. These include 71.9m baht in 13 bank accounts, 12m baht in four investment vehicles and 14m baht in 12 life insurance policies.
  • 196m baht of assets are in Mrs. Pattanan’s name.  These include 122.9m baht in 22 bank accounts, 6m baht in investments, a 3.8 million baht car, 61m baht in life insurance policies and land in Chanthaburi province worth about 760,000 baht.
  • 131m baht of assets held under the name of Nopparat’s ex-wife, Mrs. Tharinee.  These include 105 million baht in 56 bank accounts, 25m baht in investments and one car worth about 1m baht.
  • 26.7m baht of assets held in the name of a son, Thanarat Ditwatcharapaisarn.  These include 20m baht in 10 bank accounts, one 1.8 million baht house in Samut Prakan province, four life insurance policies worth 3m baht and a 1m million baht car.
  • 68 million baht of assets held in the name of a daughter, Ms. Pimpassorn Ditwatcharapaisarn.  These include 50m baht in 31 bank accounts, 9.7m baht in investments, 5.8 m baht in three properties and 2m baht in three life insurance policies.
  • One condominium unit worth 500,000 in Chon Buri province, held in the name of a niece, Ms. Waratthaya Prommat.
  • 4.5m baht of assets held in the name of M. Piyachart Srichan, a close aide to Nopparat.
  • 49m baht of assets in Bangkok held under the name of Ms. Natthaporn, daughter of Mrs. Pattanan

The NACC secretary-general said that their officials have seized assets worth 176 million baht so far, adding that the agency has asked the Office of the Attorney-General to file charges against Nopparat and seven other people with the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases.