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No scope for appeal in Tarit’s dismissal

BANGKOK: Tarit Pengdith, former Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), cannot appeal his dismissal from the civil service for being unusually wealthy, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam has said.

corruption, police, politics,

Bangkok Post

Tuesday 25 April 2017, 08:59AM

Yesterday’s dismissal of ex-DSI Chief Tarit Pengdith, a loyal follower of the 2014 coup, leaves him with no right of appeal. Photo: Post Today
Yesterday’s dismissal of ex-DSI Chief Tarit Pengdith, a loyal follower of the 2014 coup, leaves him with no right of appeal. Photo: Post Today

Mr Wissanu said yesterday (Apr 24) that under civil service regulations, if Mr Tarit had been dismissed as a result of a normal disciplinary investigation, he could have appealed with the Merit System Protection Board.

But since Mr Tarit’s dismissal was recommended by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), it was final and he could not appeal against it, Mr Wissanu said.

Prime Minister’s Office Secretary-General Wilas Aroonsri has signed an order dismissing Mr Tarit from government service for being unusually wealthy, effective from April 3.

The Secretariat of the Prime Minister made available to the media yesterday the letter explaining Mr Tarit’s dismissal.

The dismissal was based on the NACC’s recommendation, according to the letter.

The letter said the NACC had investigated and subsequently passed a resolution declaring that Mr Tarit became unusually wealthy while serving as the DSI’s Director-General.

The NACC found that Mr Tarit’s assets had increased and his liabilities had decreased while in that position and concluded he had become inexplicably richer by B346.6 million.

According to Section 80 (4) of the 1999 Anti-Corruption Act, after the NACC has completed an investigation and passed a resolution, the NACC chairman must recommend to the immediate superior of the accused found to have committed malfeasance to punish him or her, be it a dismissal or removal.

Four days after the May 20, 2014 coup, the National Council for Peace and Order issued an order, on May 24, transferring Mr Tarit to the Prime Minister’s Office.

A month later, on June 27, 2014 he was appointed a PM’s Office adviser reporting to the Secretariat of the Prime Minister.

Therefore, the power to issue the dismissal order rested with the prime minister’s Secretary-General who was Mr Tarit’s immediate superior, the letter explained.

According to the letter, the Secretariat of the Prime Minister received the NACC’s recommendation last year.

Before taking action against Mr Tarit, his office had sought advice from the NACC, the Office of the Civil Service Commission and the Council of State which is the government’s legal advisory body to ensure legal clarity and fairness for the accused.

These offices confirmed it was within the power of the Secretariat of the Prime Minister to issue the order.

C and C Marine

Moreover, the cabinet had earlier issued a resolution that any official found to have committed gross malfeasance should be dismissed from government service, the letter concluded.

On Sunday (Apr 23), NACC member Preecha Lertkamolmart revealed the graft agency was preparing to freeze almost B100mn in assets as part of a fresh probe into Mr Tarit’s allegedly ill-gotten wealth.

Mr Preecha said the NACC recently appointed him to chair a panel to carry out the investigation. His panel had credible information that Mr Tarit had transferred large amounts of assets to his close aides.

These assets were being examined and would be frozen if those who had them in their possession could not explain their origins.

The NACC had earlier frozen about B90mn of assets in Mr Tarit’s possession.

A source close to the NACC said initial findings show the former DSI boss transferred assets to individuals including his wife, children and a police officer. The assets include cash, stocks and land plots.

The fresh move is apparently part of an extended probe into Mr Tarit’s unusual wealth which began after he was transferred to an advisory role at the Prime Minister's Office following the coup.

It was not until early last year that the NACC ruled Mr Tarit had amassed unexplained wealth of B346.65mn when he headed the DSI.

According to the NACC findings, Mr Tarit also concealed these assets in various forms and transferred some to nominees. The anti-graft agency subsequently ordered a freeze on the alleged ill-gotten assets worth B90mn.

The NACC said that as the remaining assets worth B256mn were either transferred to others or concealed, they should be recovered from other assets held by Mr Tarit and his wife, Wassamon.

Mr Tarit is known to have served well for any government that came to power, which earned him almost five years in the position. But his promising future was cut short following the 2014 coup, which saw him go from bad to worse.

Mr Tarit was removed from the position only 48 hours after the coup. After a lengthy investigation, he was eventually dismissed from the civil service this year.

His dismissal came despite his having more than one year left before retirement.

Read original story here.



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Jor12 | 25 April 2017 - 19:43:00

Kurt...Unfortunately, the frailty of humans is such that corruption is not limited to "Buddhist influential thai officials." It's relevant to Catholics, protestants and Muslims - see the index rankings for Oman, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Indonesia. As Lord Acton pointed out, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

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Kurt | 25 April 2017 - 11:50:06

What is it with the Buddhist influential thai officials that they are so obsessed by money, obsessed in such a way that they not even can explain their 'unusual' wealth.

Never follow/thinking about the teaching of Lord Buddha?
Do this people not realize that when your die your last dressing has no pockets?

Does DSI now get a clean up/look through at bank accounts of their employees and family members?

Government Corruption holds a country back from developing and getting out of that 3rd world status.

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