Gen Tesa, who as head of Region 8 Police oversaw all police operations in Phuket, was transferred to an inactive post at the Royal Thai Police “Operations Centre” in Bangkok last Sunday (June 11) pending an investigation into the alleged corruption levelled at the Royal Thai Police by Democrat Party member Wittaya Kaewparadai.
Mr Wittaya is a former member of the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA), former Democrat MP and the former head of People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
Gen Tesa told a press conference that “throughout his two years in office he never requested favours in exchange for promotions”, NNT reported yesterday (June 15). (See story here.)
The refutation follows Gen Tesa declining to comment to The Phuket News on Wednesday (June 14) about the graft probe. (See page 1 of this week’s The Phuket News.)
“Don’t ask me about it. I can’t give any comment. We can talk later,” was all he would say from China, where Gen Tesa was on an “inspection tour” when the transfer order was issued.
Nonetheless, National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) Secretary-General Sansern Poljiak has indicated that his office must act on reports filed by the public alleging corruption within the police force.
He said Mr Wittaya, who wrote the report that included the allegations, has been called to give a statement but noted that the NACC is compelled to take action against any suspicions of graft, NNT reported.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon entered the fray yesterday, responding to allegations that Patrol and Special Operation Division chief Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal may have had a hand in deciding some key changes in the last senior police reshuffle – although he is not in a position to do so.
Gen Surachet on Tuesday assured there was no lobbying for positions in his unit and national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda denied the claims on Wednesday.
The speculation arose after Mr Wittaya claimed that a certain police major-general had wielded power over the police chief while formulating the reshuffle list.
Mr Wittaya also claimed some police positions, including those at Bangkok’s Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), were also being bought by officers.
Gen Prawit yesterday said that he is in “close contact” with Gen Surachet on work matters although they have never discussed the police reshuffle, which he reiterated was up to the police chief to decide, reported the Bangkok Post. (See story here.)
The national police chief might have assigned someone else to look through the reshuffle and that has nothing to do with him, Gen Prawit said.
But Gen Prawit said if it helps clear up doubts regarding the position-buying allegations, a panel “may” be set up to probe the matter.
“They [the MPB] also set up their own panel to prove who is right and who is wrong. Witnesses and evidence will prove it,” he said, alluding to the fact the Royal Thai Police will investigate alleged corruption by Royal Thai Police.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, meanwhile, said the government has yet to begin forming a committee to steer police reform.