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Date: 1/15/99

Publication: The Nation

Section: Headlines

Temple blocked checks on assets

THE Dhammakaya Temple always refused to cooperate when it was requested to submit statements of its assets, income or expenditures for inspection, finance and accounts official of Pathum Thani's Education Office, Nongnuj Surasen, said yesterday.

Nongnuj said the temple consistently refused her request and avoided submitting the reports of its assets, income, expenditure and donations.

''I asked the temple many times for those documents but it has never sent me a single document. The office had very little information concerning the temple's financial status,'' she said.

She was speaking after the Crime Suppression Division police went to her office to ask for the statements.

Nongnuj said there were some financial statements which the temple's auditors endorsed and submitted to the office, but they were insufficient and incomplete.

The Crime Suppression Police also requested evidence from Pathum Thani's Land Office concerning the Dhammakaya Temple and its abbot Phra Dhammachayo's ownership of land.

Pol Lt Col Pirapong Supornsri wanted to find out how many plots of land belonged to the temple or were under the abbot's name and which of them were donated.

Nimyom Tancharoen, chief of Pathum Thani's Land Office, said the office needed time to put the documents together before it could inform police.

Pirapong also sought evidence from the chief of Pathum Thani's Education Office, Pratheep Hongsopa, on the point that the temple solicited substantial donations but sank the money into businesses instead of using it for religious affairs. However, the office could not give him details.

Prateep said he had asked the temple twice for time to discuss the allegation that it ventured into business, but the request was turned down.

''The monks just said they wanted to talk directly with high-ranking ministry officials about the matter,'' said Prateep.

Pirapong said police wanted an account of the temple's income and expenditure most because it would help determine if the land was bought under the temple or in the abbot's name.

The Nation

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