Buddhism office chief reinstated

Pongporn Pramsaneh will return to the National Office of Buddhism.

The cabinet on Tuesday reinstated Pongporn Pramsaneh as the director of the National Office of Buddhism, after shunting him to the Prime Minister’s Office in late August.

It also assigned Deputy Prime Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn to supervise the office in place of PM’s Office Minister Ormsin Chivapruck who earlier proposed the transfer of the director. The reinstatement was set to take effect on Sunday.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday that he had felt the need to bring Pol Lt Col Pongporn out of the Buddhism office for a while to discuss challenges in the country’s Buddhist circles.

Since the master plan was finished, he would return to the office, Gen Prayut said.

He denied that Pol Lt Col Pongporn had made any mistake and that his government had been indecisive on the position at the Buddhism office. Pol Lt Col Pongporn was withdrawn to restore order, the prime minister.

Gen Prayut also assured that the investigation into temple fund embezzlement would continue, and monks had already promised to cooperate with it.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the past transfer order of Pol Lt Col Pongporn had not been submitted for royal approval. Pending the submission process, Gen Prayut ordered that conflicts between the Buddhism office and other agencies be resolved. Satisfactory progress towards that had been made, Lt Gen Sansern said.

The cabinet resolved on Aug 29 to make Lt Col Pongporn an inspector-general at the PM’s Office. Lt Col Pongporn resisted the transfer order, saying that it had not won royal approval, so on Sept 6 the permanent secretary of the PM’s Office assigned Lt Col Pongporn to supervise affairs in the deep South. 

On Sept 8 Gen Prayut signed another order for Lt Col Pongporn to work at the PM’s Office.

The reinstatement of the Buddhism office director followed a police decision to bring  in connection with the temple fund embezzlement scandal.

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