ELECTION COMMISSION / ALLEGED FUND MISUSE
EC : P-Net must return B1.3m
The Election Commission has demanded that the People's Network for Elections (P-Net) return more than one million baht it allegedly misused in previous senate elections. Phuchong Nutrawong, deputy secretary-general of the EC, said P-Net, an independent poll-monitoring agency, was allocated about 33 million baht for monitoring the Senate election in 2000.
However, P-Net could not produce receipts for about 6.4 million baht it had spent on its monitoring work, he said.
Besides, another sum of 1.1 million baht had been used for wrong purposes, such as making payments to poll watchdog volunteers who were not qualified for the job, and spending on alcoholic drinks, Mr Phuchong said.
He also alleged that P-Net had misused some 229,000 baht of poll-monitoring funds during the 2001 general election.
P-Net would be asked to return about 1.3 million baht to the EC, he said.
P-Net must also show the receipts for the 6.4 million baht it had spent. If the agency failed to do so, it would be required to return the amount to the EC.
Mr Phuchong said the EC has set up a committee to investigate the spending of the funds it allocated to independent poll-monitoring groups to prevent the misuse of such funds.
Since 2000, more than 381 million baht had been allocated to those monitoring groups.
Fourteen poll watchdog groups have not yet submitted their spending reports, he added.
Mr Phuchong denied the investigation was linked to a dispute between P-Net and election commissioner Sodsri Satayatham.
Mrs Sodsri accused P-Net of failing to properly account for the spending of state money it had been allocated for use in monitoring the April 2006 election, which was later annulled by the Constitution Court.