NACC seizes Bt64.7 million from Suphoth
Wealth of former top bureaucrat at Transport Ministry declared unusual; he could face criminal charges
The National Anti Corruption Commission yesterday ruled that former Transport permanent secretary Suphoth Sublom had amassed unusual wealth, ordering the seizure of Bt64.7 million in ill-gotten gains.
Following the unanimous ruling, the case will be forwarded to the Office of the Attorney-General to seek judicial endorsement for the asset seizure.
NACC member Klanarong Chantik said the ruling was based on two reports of the investigative panel in May, plus additional evidence subsequently uncovered.
The NACC had previously endorsed the two reports before impounding Bt17.5 million in cash and gold jewellery weighing 10 baht and a Volkswagen van valued at Bt3 million.
Police recovered the cash and gold after a break-in at Suphoth's home, which coincided with the wedding of his daughter. Although Suphoth reported that Bt5 million had been stolen, and that this money was a wedding gift, the recovered loot exceeded his claim.
A gang of burglars allegedly stole Bt100 million in cash from his Bangkok home in November. Police retrieved some Bt20 million of the cash - an amount much larger than the Bt5 million that Suphoth initially told police about.
Based on his 36 asset statements filed while in office from 2001 to 2011, Suphoth reported his net worth at Bt65 million.
The NACC found his wealth to be unusual, taking into consideration that he entered the civil service in 1977 with a starting salary of Bt1,750.
In his defence, Suphoth said his income from the civil service totalled Bt4.9 million in 34 years. He also earned Bt9.6 million from a second job as an engineering consultant, working part-time for 16 years, from 1982 to 1998. His total earnings amounted to Bt21 million. But this fell far short of the Bt65 million net worth. A Bt44 million gap was found between his earnings and actual net worth.
After examining the asset statements and other properties uncovered in Suphoth's names, the NACC named Bt64 million as ill-gotten gains because there was no evidence to verify how the assets came into his possession.
The unusual wealth included Bt55 million held in four accounts and six plots worth Bt7.8 million.
The case will be further investigated and if Suphoth is convicted of graft, he will face criminal sentences.