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NACC Phuket seeks arrest warrant in local corruption probe

NACC Phuket seeks arrest warrant in local corruption probe

PHUKET: Suksan Prasara-ae, Director of the Phuket office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), yesterday confirmed that an investigation had found a former Mayor of Thepkrasattri Municipality guilty of corruption.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 23 February 2022, 12:56PM

NACC Phuket Chief Suksan Prasara-ae at the meeting yesterday (Feb 22). Photo: PR Phuket

NACC Phuket Chief Suksan Prasara-ae at the meeting yesterday (Feb 22). Photo: PR Phuket

Mr Suksan revealed the news by including it halfway through a long report on the progress of the works and investigations conducted by the NACC Region 8 office.

Mr Suksan delivered his report at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall  yesterday (Feb 22) presided over by Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew.

“The NACC in Phuket has conducted various missions this [past] year,” Mr Suksan said in beginning his long briefing to the Governor

Mr Suksan explained that the NACC Region 8 office had announced the “disclosure of the results of the inspection of assets and liabilities of state officials under the Organic Act on Anti-Corruption. 2018, in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Surat Thani, Chumphon, Ranong, Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket”.

“A total of 950 cases, comprising 205 cases of persons taking official office and 745 cases of persons vacating office, were investigated,” he said.

“The NACC has declared to the general public [the results of the investigations] under Section 111 of the Act by disclosing the results of the inspection of assets and liabilities via the NACC website www.nacc.go.th,” he added.

Of note, the reports publicly posted by the NACC do not disclose the assets and wealth of those investigated. The reports only confirm that the people were investigated.

Mr Suksan invited people who are interested in viewing the announcement revealing the results of the inspection of assets and liabilities to “follow the aforementioned steps on the website above”.

“Disclosure of the results of the audit assets and liabilities does not deprive the NACC of the power to conduct further investigations at a later date in the event that there is a reason to suspect the correctness or existence [of corruption],” Mr Suksan said.

“The next task of anti-corruption concerns is the inquiry that was accepted before the Organic Act on Anti-Corruption 2018 came into force”, he said.

“The NACC has considered the preliminary inquiry case, the case against the former Thepkrasattri Mayor and government officials in Thalang who were accused of corruption in the procurement of the construction project of the Thepkrasattri Municipality Fresh Market and of being unusually wealthy, Mr Suksan said.

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"The NACC has ruled that [a/the] former mayor of Thepkasattri is a criminal because the official had the duty to buy, make, manage or maintain any property, and fraudulently exercised power in the position," he said.

Throughout his long delivery of this report, Mr Suksan did not name which former Mayor had been found corrupt.

With the complaint filed five years ago, and no explanation from Mr Suksan as to why the investigation took so long, Piyawat Jirajamorn was Mayor of Thepkrasattri at the time. Mr Piyawat was succeeded by Thanasan Jiramorn.

The current Mayor of Thepkrasattri is Siricharat Trairat, sister of the former mayor Prasong Trairat.

Ms Siricharat was elected to office in December, after her brother Mr Prasong resigned just months after he was elected mayor on Mar 28 last year.

Whoever the NACC now deems to be corrupt has been found guilty of “causing damage by performing or refraining from performing duties in order to cause damage to any person or acting or refraining from performing duties dishonestly according to Section 151 of the Criminal Code," Mr Suksan said.

Officials also investigated reports that the individual was “unusually wealthy,” Mr Suksan added.

"For the unusually wealthy case, it was resolved that the allegation had no basis for the allegation, and it was dismissed,” he said.

“In this case, the NACC Region 8 office is working to be issued an arrest warrant by the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases Region 8,” Mr Suksan said.

“The NACC’s criminal ruling is not yet final. The accused remains innocent until the final judgment of the court," he added.

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