By Jeerasak Wongkhamjan,
ANOTHER COMMITTEE has been set up to conduct a disciplinary investigation of Ban Phai Mayor Premsak Phiayura over the next 120 days, Khon Kaen Governor Khamthorn Tavorn-sathit said yesterday.
The move followed a fact-finding committee’s conclusion that there were grounds to accuse Premsak of detaining and ordering the partial stripping of a reporter, who was among five journalists who sought comments from Premsak regarding a personal controversy.
Premsak reportedly objected to their coverage of a “personal” matter.
The new committee of six members, chaired by a deputy governor, will proceed with a disciplinary action against the local executive according to an Interior Ministry regulation, Khamthorn said.
No duty suspension
The 120-day deadline could be extended by 30 days twice, he said, but added that Premsak would not be suspended from work because the issue did not relate to the municipality.
The panel will submit its findings to the Interior Minister, who will decide whether to dismiss Premsak if he is found guilty.
Premsak, a 51-year-old former Thai Rak Thai MP, has been at the centre of a controversy after pictures of him seated next to a Mathayom 5 schoolgirl in an alleged engagement or wedding ceremony were circulated via social media.
When the reporters asked him about the pictures late last month, Premsak allegedly had his subordinates pull down the trousers of Daily News reporter Korsit Kongchom and then take pictures.
In addition to the governor’s investigation, the incident led to a police complaint against Premsak for compelling a person by putting him in fear of injury to life or liberty and detaining a person, while Premsak filed a countersuit against the reporters for intruding on his office.
Ombudsman Office Secretary-General Rakkecha Saechai said his office’s investigation would wait for the Khon Kaen committee’s report, Premsak’s testimony and the police findings.