Zambia – Banking & Financial Services Act

The Banking and Financial Services (Amendment) Act No. 7 of 2020 was assented on 23 October 2020. The Zambian Act amends the Banking and Financial Services Act in relation to among others;
• licensing for banking businesses, financial businesses or financial services;
• implementation of supervision for the purposes of the prevention and combating of money laundering and financing of terrorism or proliferation or any other serious offence;
• the restructuring, transferring or closing, for instance, of a financial service provider by the Bank of Zambia; and decisions of a tribunal.

All Commercial Banks, Non-Banking Financial Service Providers, Bureau de Change (Casas De Cambio), Law Enforcement, Financial Intelligence Centre, Security and Exchange Commission and other key stake holders in the Compliance, Operations and Financial Crime Risk Management Portfolios need to study the Legal provisions contained herein the amended Act and ensure compliance with the breath and spirit of the law in order to avoid sanctions, penalties and attendant fines.

Knowing Who, How and Why is cardinal

Just like KNOWING who and how are important, knowing “WHY” is also very cardinal. There is an old Zambian song which goes like ” Kusiyana siyana kwa Nchito”. Another one by Air power band which stated “It is the way we get by”.

Both songs allude to the facts of life pertaining to different callings, passions, professions etc. Others are Doctors, Accountants, Lawyers, Tax Collectors, Teachers, Nurses, Police Officers, Business people, Traders, Cadres, Politicians, Clergy, Tamangas, Plumbers, Brick layers, Artisans, Carpenters, Marketers, Drivers, Painters, Photographers, Economists, Farmers, Athletes, Footballers, Undertakers etc.

The Big Question we must all ask ourselves and yourself in particular is why have you chosen to do what you do? Knowing why makes all the difference. We all must Know why, and you’ll figure out how. Know why, and you’ll find the motivation, enthusiasm, persistence, and strength to make it happen.

Begin noticing and being careful about keeping your imagination free of thoughts that you do not wish to materialize. Instead, initiate a practice of filling your creative thoughts to overflow with ideas and wishes that you fully intend to manifest. Honor your imaginings regardless of others seeing them as crazy or impossible. – Wayne Dyer said.

When all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed – Marily Manson. Not ukusabaila. Jack and Jane of all trades and master/mistress of none. Focus and be determined. Not fye ukwalola umwela eko naimwe mwalola. Once you hear that cross boarder trading in woolen blankets from Botswana is in the in thing, you abandon your University Education and opt for that. You hear that eggs and goats are selling fast at Kasumbalesa Boarder Post, you want to do the same abandoning your Mukula Tree selling project.

You hear mongers rumoring about the African Potato and its alleged potency to cure certain ailments, you abandon your Moringa and Jathropa Tree growing project on your livestock and fish farm and go into swamps and dambos looking for the African Potatoes. You hear that importing used vehicles from Japan is trending, you abandon the Traditional Healing Kantemba selling sawdust as aphrodisiacs (mutototo) and jump in the smuggling in of lagers for Comesa Market.

You cant do everything; From selling Needles to selling Aeroplanes via selling boats and Buses. You are not Amazon, Alibaba or ebay, Walmart, Costco, Target or Game online store. Just because everyone else desires to do, to have, to achieve something, is not enough. Be sure it’s truly important to you, and know why.

Give your actions the power of authentic purpose. Tap into a source of energy that grows stronger the more you use it. To complete your daily mental hygiene, observe any part of you that is upset or anxious, and offer that part of yourself the following simple wishes: ‘May you be well. May you be happy. May you be free from suffering.’ Repeat this until you actually mean it. – Martha Beck.

Instead of frustration, you can experience joy. Instead of disappointment, you can know fulfillment. It all comes from understanding why. Know why, and whatever you imagine is yours to create. Stay well and be Blessed.

Yakuza tribal cousins to the Triads and the Mafia

Italy has the Mafias. China has the Triads. Zambia has the Jerabos. Japan has the Yakuza. Yakuza, also known as gokudō, are members of transnational organized crime syndicates originating in Japan. The Japanese police, and media by request of the police, call them bōryokudan, while the yakuza call themselves ninkyō dantai.

The largest group in the Japanese Yakuza, the Yamaguchi-Gumi, from its headquarters in Kobe, is involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking, extortion, prostitution, fraud and money laundering both in Japan and abroad.

These activities are estimated to generate the group billions of dollars in illicit funds annually. To combat such criminal activities, financial investigation units and financial institutions have begun putting pressure on the Yakuza and its affiliates by freezing its assets.

In February 2012, USA President Barrack Obama and Joe Biden identified the Yakuza as a significant transnational criminal organization (TCOs) and charged the US treasury department with pursuing additional sanctions against their members and supporters. The Treasury Department proceeded to designate the largest group within the Japanese Yakuza, the Yamaguchi-Gumi and two of its leaders as targets of its sanctions authority.

This action resulted in the freezing of any assets the designated persons had within the jurisdiction of the United States and prohibiting any transactions with them by the U.S. persons. The pressure against the Yakuza has since increased as Japan’s Financial Services Agency ordered Mizuho Financial, one of the wealthiest financial institutions in the World, to improve its compliance regarding suspected loans loaned to known criminal organizations.

Japan’s Police Agency estimates that due to this increased pressure from regulators, the membership of the Yakuza is steadily declining as it becomes increasingly difficult to launder the money. They are always re-invention new modus operandi.

Philippines to Crush Bulk-Cash Smuggling

The House of Representatives of the Philippines filed a bill in March 2020 aimed at curbing bulk-cash smuggling. The proposed Anti-Bulk Cash Smuggling Act of 2020, would impose reporting requirements and demand prior clearance for those transporting PHP500,000 or more in cash or using other monetary instruments. If passed, those caught violating the requirements could face several years in prison.

Government employees who facilitate smuggling would be prosecuted, fined and may face prison time as well. The legislation comes just a few days after the country’s Department of Finance announced that from mid-2019 to March 2020, two Chinese organized crime syndicates, “Rodriguez” and “Chinese,” have smuggled into the country $200 million and $168 million, respectively. Further, a total of approximately $180 million was brought into the Philippines from China just from December to February. The “Singapore” group smuggled in PHP2.6 billion, and “Hong Kong” group PHP2.3 billion.

Much of this cash has been brought in through couriers, who make trips to and from China a few times a week and avoid proper inspection at the airport with the help of corrupt police or military escorts. In filing House Bill No. 6516 Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said bulk cash smuggling is a serious national security risk as much as it is a risk to the country’s institutions.

“Bulk cash smuggling suspected to be in the billions of pesos is enough to shift political fortunes and corrupt institutions in the country facilitating crime and other illegal activities,” Salceda said. He warned that if the country’s financial authorities are unable to respond to bulk cash smuggling decisively, the risk becomes greater that the Philippines would get delisted from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for being a high-risk base for terrorism financing and money laundering.

“This delisting would have serious implications on the ability of our financial institutions to expand and do business transnationally. This would also carry broader dangers to our credit standing internationally, making the country a riskier borrower of funds,” he said.

The bill seeks to expand the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 to include one-time cash transports of more than PHP500,000 at any one time. It shall also empower the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to define a cumulation of closely-related events that would constitute “one-time”. The bill proposes to criminalize bulk cash smuggling to ensure that the evasion of a paper trail for cash transfers will not be tolerated.

A person convicted of a currency smuggling offense shall be imprisoned for not less than 7 years and not more than 14 years. There shall also be a civil forfeiture in favor of the Philippines of assets related to cash smuggling.

“In view of the urgency of the need for a response to the currently unmitigated influx of bulk cash into the Philippines, and given the critical importance of a policy response to the threats that bulk cash smuggling pose to peace and order, national security, and institutional and financial integrity, the immediate enactment of this bill is urgently sought,” he said.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has indicated willingness to work with legislators anew for the proposed Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) reforms, as he cited loopholes in the existing law. “Our laws have no teeth to investigate and prosecute these activities effectively. We don’t have enough tools to know where all this money is going, without being hamstrung by stringent bank secrecy laws,” he added. Dominguez said it is imperative to amend AMLA, which remains a weak tool against money laundering and other unlawful activities.” (PNA)

11-2020 amidst Covid-19 Thanksgiving Day in USA

I’m so happy and grateful for the gift of life and to be well and alive today. I owe an incalculable debt of gratitude to my parents, my family members, my life partner/wife and children.

I’m grateful for the many great opportunities and enriching experiences I have had in my life, stay, work and interactions in Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia and USA. I have worked for the public and private sectors, development organizations, pharmaceutical industries, financial institutions, international banks and several others.

To my friends, colleagues and family members, I have a question to ask each and everyone of you. In the last 11 years, the amount of money that has flowed through your bank account or bank accounts, how much profits have you made on it? You may include Fixed Deposits, Interest bearing, savings and checking accounts. Are you able to account for the profits, or everything has been swallowed in account maintenance fees, Account activity fees, commission fees, ATM fees, check book fees etc.

With regard to future retirement ideas, “Going back to the land, Green Revolution and Agricultural Farming concepts and chitemene system and type of farming ideas are not designed for everyone”. “What if there was a way or if there was a skill that could teach you and anyone between 11 years and 88 years how to multiply your money, would you want to know or learn about about it?”

IM mastery academy is a social learning place dedicated to training anyone to become the best version of themselves. Featuring academy education delivered in a way that’s simple, easy & fun, live sessions from industry leaders and independent business opportunities to earn residual income for anyone to live the lifestyle they’ve always wanted.

All you need is a laptop, iPad, iPhone, iPod, android gadget and you can learn in English, Catalan, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish the FOREX and Digital Currency Trade Ideas. Simply call, inbox, follow me and Register using the link below: Stay safe and be blessed. Remember to give THANKS.

Organized crime money laundering Gang Australia

In January 2014 Australia’s biggest money-laundering investigations, Project Eligo seized AUD5.7million (USD5.3million) in cash from a location in Sydney. Investigators believe that money was being laundered through centers in the Middle East and Asia using techniques including but not limited to structuring, trade-based money laundering, and informal value transfer systems. It is also suspected that part of the funds was being directed to Lebanese militant group the Hezbollah.

When speaking of the incident, John Schmidt Chief Executive Officer of AUSTRAC, Australia’s anti-money laundering agency said remittance sector is recognized internationally as being anti-risk of being exploited by serious and organized crime groups. “Over the past two years, AUSTRAC has taken regulatory action against 15 Remitters. Importantly, the task force will continue to work with the alternative remittance sector and relevant industry bodies to build resilience and safeguard against such organized crime threats” said Mr. Schmidt.

Since its establishment in December 2012, the Eligo Task Force has successfully uncovered 40 separate money-laundering operations across Australia, seized of AUD586million (USD550 million) worth of assets, drugs, and cash and identified almost 128 Serious organized crime activities previously unknown to law enforcement agencies.

Underground bank and Money Laundering Typologies – Viets & Sino

The Perpetrator was Ruan Zhizhong who operated in China and Vietnam. In August 2009 Chinese law-enforcement raided an underground bank and money laundering gang that had sent an estimated USD1.46 billion abroad in illegal transfers.

Chinese media reported that, “During a raid of the gang’s headquarters in Guangxi’s Fangchenggang City, Police seized 70 deposit books, 590 bank cards, two cars, six computers and 680,000 Yuan (USD99,400) in cash” as well as freezing 327 related bank accounts involved in the money laundering case with a total value of 47.5 million Yuan (USD7.6million).

According to a Guangxi Police Spokesman, Qin Yongjun, the gang had been opening legal bank accounts in Guangxi as well as Guangdong and Fujian Provinces. They then used the accounts to make illegal electronic transfers abroad mainly to Vietnam.

For many years the Chinese government has imposed restrictions on the overseas transfer of money. This led parties to resort to underground banks to illegally launder and move money abroad. As a way to simultaneously facilitate the legal transfer of funds and at the same time reduce related criminal activity, the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Exchange has since relaxed its policy on international transfers, yet related incidents continue to occur.

Organized Crime boss control empire from prison

The perpetrator was Carson Yeung, Hong Kong hairdresser turned businessman who made his fortune trading in penny stocks/shares, eventually becoming the president of English football club Birmingham city football club in 2009.

After years of high living the charges brought against him included money laundering totaling a value of USD92.8 million from entities including casinos and suspected criminals. It was ruled that between 2001 and 2007 much of the money which went through Five of Yeung’s bank accounts came from illicit sources in Macau. In his defense, Yeung claimed that the funds were Casino winnings. He was unable to convince anyone, let alone the judge. Yeung was sentenced to six years imprisonment.

“He did not care where the money came from, and he did not bother to ask,” said Judge Douglas Yau, adding that Mr. Yeung had lied throughout his testimony. “He was just making it up as he went along.”

In 2018, jailed Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung Ka-sing denied in court that he had controlled Birmingham City Football Club while he was behind bars for money laundering.

The hairdresser turned businessman was testifying against a former accountant of Birmingham International Holdings – of which Yeung was chairman until 2014 – now on trial for theft. Jerry Ko Ka-wai, 35, has denied stealing US$4.8 million from the company between September 26, 2013 and December 16, 2014. Sounds like a criminal stealing from the Senior criminal.

The Village Banking – Zambian Style

There is strength in numbers but also there are also existential challenges which come with business undertakings in groups such as the Village Banking which may for now be taken as “fore-warnings and LESSONS Learnt” as we move to encourage, and champion such Business Ventures. Nalikwebele tabulapo. Kuti mwashala muli mwamoneni mwamoneni, ka Capital na ka Pension kaingila pa cani.

Mark Zuckerberg (Synonymous with Face Book) stated that “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks”.

His sentiments have been echoed by Iveta Cherneva who categorically stated that “Only those who play win. Only those who risk win. History favors risk-takers. It forgets the timid. Everything else is commentary.”

In Zambia, between 1977 and 1999, we used to hear of local terminologies such as Ichiima, Ichilimba, Kaloba etc. During the 2000s, some of these concepts have evolved, been tweaked and refined. Some new user-friendly terminologies such as soft loans, community banking and Village banking have been conceptualized, methodologies and modus operandi continue to be panel beaten, sieved and refined as we continue in 2020 and beyond.

One of the personalities, attributes or indeed one of the character traits that we are likely to find in any successful person (in whichever areas of human endeavors) is that they are willing to take calculated risks. Taking calculated risks may change one’s life for the better and or provide the way for some people to fulfill their dreams, hopes and desires.

“Living with fear stops us from taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit” Sarah Parish advised. Paulo Coelho further intimated; “Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when the person looks back, she will hear her heart”.

Mark Twain encourages everyone to venture out and explore. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”.

I have been privileged to carryout consultancy work, reviewed several village banking constitutions, rules of engagement, operational manuals, minutes and helped to design the cash-flow quadrants and projections, finance and banking platforms for Village Banking groups based in Zambia and several of those being run by Zambians in Diaspora. I have a fair share of understanding on a practical level how Zambian style Village Banking operations are currently being run.

For easy of reference and clarity, Village banking system was initially thought to be implemented in economically challenged environments in order to help those that cannot get loans from traditional financial institutions such as commercial, retail, merchant or community banks. Currently, Village Banking as a type of microcredit similar to community banking and other financial institutions such as FINCA and several others is quite popular in Zambia and among phenomenal Zambian ladies and women who by the way are not economically challenged, but well to do and have enough to save from their various streams of income.

The primary objectives of the Zambian style of village banking or Women/Ladies Savings Initiatives is to provide a platform for its members to save, to borrow, promote networking, allow members to share business ideas and investment opportunities. Zambian women and ladies want to save money away from or besides/along with the formal Banking systems whose charges and service commissions may be seen to be prohibitive and feared to have potential to wipe out the hard-earned funds held in Bank current or savings accounts.

Village Banking is, and can be viewed as part of the Financial Inclusion. The Zambian Women Groupings have found it prudent to provide funds to individual fellow womenfolk that are in need of assistance for certain projects and business needs. The fervent hope is that by providing them with small loans, other members can engage in business transactions that will eventually increase their savings and net wealth for other projects and during rainy days.

The basic structure of a Zambian style of a village bank is much like a support group made up of strong willed, determined and focused crop of women empowering each other and other resilient ladies, who discuss financial matters, have regular meetings (bi-weekly or monthly) in which they convene (in person or virtual zoom/conferencing) and discuss the issues associated with the village banking.

The Operational details of various Zambian style Village Banking groups differ from one group to another. Suffice to state that the underlying and fundamental qualification with regard to membership is based on a referral and strong recommendation from an existing member presumed to have good character, great reputation, integrity, must be of good standing in society, committed, trustworthy and not a defaulter on previous loan obligations.

Through a vetting and voting process, new members are admitted to the group. The groups have some small Management Committee members providing secretarial, treasury and communication services to call for meetings and keep all members abreast with the general affairs of the group.

In general, within this group, individuals can ask for soft loans from the village bank. If a member attends meetings regularly and is in good standing with the rest of the group, one should be able to get a small loan, with specified amounts and time frame in which to pay back at socially friendly lower interest rates than the ordinary commercial banking lending rates.

Members will make regular payments to the village bank until the said soft loan is repaid in full with a reasonable agreed interest rate. With this type of loan, they often do not require any kind of collateral. Collateral is usually not required as most of the individuals and the organization may not have anything to offer as collateral. Instead of collateral, all of the members of the organization provide cross guarantees on everyone else’s loans.

If a loan for one reason or another is not repaid (and within the Zambian cultural and social context, excuses and reasons why loans are defaulted can be as varied, complex and weird to comprehend and isolate or itemize. There is just no way of knowing which ones are truthfully genuine or fake news), the individual that took out the loan would be somehow socially pressured by constant reminders through phone calls, FB Messages, SMS, emails, WhatsApp, telegram and or embarrassed to remain in the group. That goes with the member-friend who introduced the delinquent member. This type of social/soft loan utilizes social pressure instead of traditional collateral to enforce the loan repayments.

Banks have lent the hard way and sometimes can be brutal with loan impairment and debt collection mechanisms. Village Banking can learn lessons from other Financial Institutions and the current cases before the Courts of law. We will discuss the risks later.

Similar to FINCA International which is supposedly a not-for-profit corporation that uses market-based solutions, like microfinance and social enterprise, to catalyze economic growth, expand financial inclusion and alleviate poverty in underserved regions worldwide, Zambian Village Banking is also playing a pivotal role in women supporting other women. It is however not without inherent challenges, problems and risks associated with it.

“Creative risk-taking is essential to success in any goal where the stakes are high. Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution, which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity” – Gary Ryan Blair. This is what drives resolute women to forge ahead with the Village Banking.

Although the village banking groups in Zambia would like a situation where fraud and financial crime could happen to other financial institutions like the Pensions and Insurance, it is an undeniable fact that all commercial and Retail Banks, Community and Village Banking including these Women’s Saving Groups for Zambians are potential victims.

Just like in the Zambian cryptocurrency saga, more than four (4) groups have already fallen victims and members of the Village Banking groups were in a state of confusion trying to decipher when, how, what, why and who are the perpetrators of the fraudulent schemes. So far, one group could not share out dividends, profits and savings for the cycle ending in December 2019, as the amounts mysterious went missing by the alleged trusted Secretary to the Treasury.

The second group was ambushed by robbers wearing masks during their monthly weekend meetings and hauled their contributions in a cash box and the thugs vanished in thin air. Suspicion of the mole or the enemy within the group can never be established or determined. The robbers’ ring leader could have been one of the husbands/boyfriend of the village banking group member who knew when and exactly where the meeting would take place with a cashbox stuffed with money.

The third group thought the Signatories had deposited funds in the Bank Account at a Commercial Bank only to discover that the Secretary to the Treasury had decided to utilize group funds to invest in a supposedly higher return investment project which apparently turned out to be a scam of crypto-currency data mining. The group have been panicking and looking out for solutions to no avail of how they will recover the funds.

The fourth group had challenges with members who borrowed money to invest in a piggery, poultry and saloon business. Funds (loans and interest) could not be paid back as members claimed that the anticipated profits could not be realized due to frequent load-shedding which brought out untold misery to the piglets and killed day old chicks.

These and many more practical examples are real problems and challenges of such great initiatives of village banking. There is need to seriously consider and and tabulate how best these challenges could be mitigated in good time.

I have had the privilege of working in the Financial Crime Risk Management and Investigations for more than two decades now. I have seen a lot of financial scams and schemes in many sectors. Be that as it may, Village Banking is a relatively new normal and the sector needs nurturing, proper guidance, clear rules and regulations in order to effectively mitigate the risks attendant with these types of informal social and financial groupings some of which are carrying risks in the way they handle the groups financial transactions.

As stated, members who borrow from the Village Banking or Women’s Empowerment Organizations do not offer any collateral. When I inquired their respective constitutions, pertaining to how they would recover delinquent loans from members, most strongly felt that where a member fails to pay the loan outstanding, the group will consider reporting the matter to the police or taking such other legal steps to recover the amount.

Whilst some of the demoralized and frustrated Police Officer’s action has been lethargic, group members have had no problem in reporting such matters or getting them to the scenes of the crime (often by cajoling, providing transport, lunch allowances or “Talk Time” and internet Bundles or money for fuel).

Culprits have been surrendered to the Zambian Law enforcement Agencies, the Director of Prosecutions and his team members and subsequently to the Courts of Law. However, these three arms of Government are increasingly failing to inspire the Zambian people, failing to deliver or are painfully slow to reform and administer justice and subsequently fraudsters are left scott-free.

Clearly the penal system has not moved with times and the government which assured the general populace should not fall into the trap of paying a lip service to resolving the numerous Law Enforcement Agencies, DPP and Judicial ills Zambians have been crying over since independence.

In a separate article I shared that Fraud is among the oldest human occupations. Ever since Jacob obtained Isaac’s (his father’s) blessings by impersonating his brother Essau, the efforts and energies spent by some human beings to get something for nothing has been a recurring theme in literature. For this Christian Nation of Zambia, those who went to Sunday and Sabbath Schools or have read the Holy Book called the Bible, are reminded that the oldest fraud is told in the Book of Genesis Chapter 27.

Fraudsters, imposters masquerading as villager bankers will connive with their mischievous boyfriends to raid the group and rob the group out of the hard earned savings or simply disappear with village banking funds. Stay safe.

The Jet-Setting Monk from the Tiger Kingdom

The propensity and affinity for some people to gauge an opportunity to misappropriate, embezzle or divert funds to increase one’s wealth is too great and irresistible. While they may consider themselves “under the radar,” the example below demonstrate that in the end crime doesn’t pay.

The Perpetrator is Wirapol Sokphol a.k.a “The Jet-Setting Monk from Thailand (Tiger Kingdom). Wirapol Sokphol came to international attention in 2013 when a video was released of him dressed in monk’s robes, traveling board a private plane, counting colossal stacks of the US dollars and wearing designer accessories.

He amassed an estimated fortune of THB1 billion (USD32million) through a variety of illegal means including the embezzlement of funds donated to him for religious purposes by his followers. The charges against him include statutory rape, money laundering, embezzlement, and online fraud.

In order to avoid prosecution, the Jet-Setting Monk fled Thailand fled to the United States of America where he owns a Buddhist retreat near Los Angeles. USD10m disappeared from his bank accounts since he vanished. However, in September 2013, Thailand’s Department of Special investigations discovered hidden assets worth tens of millions belonging to the Jet-Setting Monk himself.

“Over the years there have been several cases of men who abused the robe, but never has a monk been implicated in so many crimes,…We have never seen a case this widespread, where a monk has caused so much damage to so many people and Thai Society.” said the Chief Investigator.

“I always wondered what kind of monk has this much money,” said one of his regular pilots, Piya Tregalnon. “The most bizarre thing is what was in his bag… it was filled with stacks of 100 dollar bills”. Wirapol Sukphol, returned to Thailand in July 2017 after being extradited from the United States where he had fled.

A criminal court in Bangkok sentenced Wirapol to 114 years in prison though he will only serve 20 years because Thai law stipulates that is the maximum for someone found guilty of multiple counts of the same offense. He was given another 16 years behind bars for taking a 14-year-old girl away from her parents and allegedly raping her for nearly two years (2000 to 2001) which led to the girl getting pregnant.

The Ratchadapisek Criminal Court judge said this 16-year sentence would be added to the 20-year prison term he was given in August over charges of public fraud, money laundering and violation of the Computer Crimes Act. The court also accused the former monk of abusing his status to take advantage of a young girl and tarnishing the religion.