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Senior police officer fired for Covid-19 allowance

A senior police officer has been fired for having misused the Covid-19 allowances allocated to his subordinates while being the superintendent of the Thung Song police station in Nakhon Si Thammarat province.

Pol Lt Gen Kittirat Phunphet, the Provincial Police Region 8 commander in charge of the province, on Wednesday signed the order to remove Pol Col Sompong Thipaphakul from service.

The order was made public the next day.

His dismissal followed a July 14 ruling by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which found Pol Col Sompong guilty of malfeasance.

According to the NACC, the National Police Office allocated a Covid-19 allowance for all policemen who worked in the field, or outside emergency situation operation centres set up at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The rate was 60 baht per hour but not more than seven hours a day.

But Thung Song police station commander Pol Col Sompong on Sept 29 last year called a meeting of all 200 officers at the station and told them they would get no more than 15,000 baht each regardless of the hours they worked.

He told them the excess had to be donated to the police station to be distributed to those who received less than 15,000 baht, citing the need to maintain unity and equality among the team. 

The remaining sum after the redistribution would go to the station’s unofficial central fund for equipment, welfare, parties and rewards among staff. The fund was managed by financial staff at the station.

After the meeting, Pol Gen Sompong did as he had said. Any policemen who failed to return the money to the fund were transferred from the station as he said he needed to set an example. ad

The issue came to light when some junior police officers complained to media after the meeting and the police office in Bangkok took up the issue for investigation.

Pol Col Sompong was transferred in October to an inactive post in the province to clear the way for a probe. He was later permanently transferred to be a senior officer at the Provincial Police Region 8.

Pol Lt Gen Kittirat said in the order the sacked officer could appeal the decision to the police head office in 30 days or file a petition to the Central Administrative Court in 90 days.

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