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Deputy PM to be asked to explain his ‘bling’, says anti-graft body chief

BANGKOK: The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) will ask Gen Prawit Wongsuwon to explain how he got a diamond ring and luxury watch he wore during a new-cabinet group photo session on Monday (Dec 4).

By Bangkok Post

Friday 8 December 2017, 08:14AM

Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon shields his eyes from strong sunlight during a group photo shoot at Government House on Monday (Dec 4). Photo: Chanat Katanyu

Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon shields his eyes from strong sunlight during a group photo shoot at Government House on Monday (Dec 4). Photo: Chanat Katanyu

A letter will be sent to the deputy prime minister shortly to clarify the origins of the items, which were not declared when he took office in 2014, NACC chairman Watcharapol Prasarnratchakij said yesterday (Dec 7).

“We want to know how he acquired them and whether there’s evidence of the purchases or inheritances,” he said.

Since the law in effect today requires politicians to declare assets twice – when taking and leaving office – anything acquired in between need not be declared, except under special circumstances like this one, he explained.

Gen Watcharapol, a former aide to Gen Prawit before he was named the NACC chairman, said he was not worried as he was performing his duty.

Asked whether he would take part in the probe of his former boss, Gen Watcharapol said the NACC would take action in accordance with the relevant laws, and a commissioner with a conflict of interest could not join the probe.

Gen Prawit earlier said he would not talk to reporters about the two accessories and would give the information only to the NACC.

“I won’t answer you. I’ll explain it to the NACC. I don’t know why I should answer you as you’ll only escalate the issue. Throughout my career, I’ve never been tainted by corruption scandals. Never,” he told reporters on Wednesday (Dec 6).

Gen Prawit’s two accessories, said to be worth millions, caught the eyes of reporters when he raised a hand to shield his eyes from the sun during a photo shoot at Government House on Monday. A group photo is customarily taken when a new cabinet takes office.

After estimating their value, curious observers checked his asset declaration list made available on the NACC website and found the two items had not been declared when he took office three years ago.

The new NACC law, one of the 14 organic laws, is being vetted by a joint panel between the National Legislative Assembly and the constitutional writers who drafted it. It will likely be tabled for final readings and a vote by the end of this month, said Gen Watcharapol, also one of the NLA panel’s members.

One of the key changes said to be introduced by the bill is that the declaration forms would no longer be made public in entirety, with only the NACC given access to the full details. The change has drawn criticisms from anti-corruption activists as a step backwards.

But Gen Watcharapol said yesterday that the panel and the constitutional writers insisted on making the information public so people can take part in the scrutiny.

“The incumbent law allows the NACC to redact sensitive information – numbers of ID cards, land titles or bank accounts – if a politician asks for it. The new law will allow us to use discretion – we can redact such details without being asked,” he explained.

Read original story here.



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Jor12 | 09 December 2017 - 23:07:37

Perhaps the quote "...I’ve never been tainted by corruption scandals. Never,” should satisfy the uninitiated. It's also pure speculation as the cost of the items. Readers also don't know of his personal circumstances, so as the article states, they are either "... purchases or inheritances." They could also be gifts.  

Kurt | 08 December 2017 - 09:19:32

The assets declaration lists of this general is quite a eye opener (published in BangkokPost).
Hard to understand how a army man in a third world country can become so rich, from cadet time till now.

Moreover, it shows bad taste and a complete ignorance of the many poor thai peoples daily needs to show off on 1 hand a watch and diamond ring worth millions.

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