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Preecha faces NACC nepotism charge

Apr 19. 2016
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By The Nation

SRISUWAN CHANYA, secretary general of the Society for Defence of Thai Constitutions, yesterday levelled a complaint against Defence Ministry permanent secretary Preecha Chan-o-cha over alleged nepotism regarding the appointment of his son as an officer in
Preecha is the younger brother of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
Srisuwan filed the complaint with Colonel Ithipol Kijsuwan, assistant secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).
He called for an investigation of Preecha’s appointment of his son, Patipat, to the post. The position carries a salary of Bt15,000 and the rank of second lieutenant. 
Srisuwan alleged Preecha’s appointment constitutes malfeasance and violated the Charter Organic Law on Anti-Corruption Act of 1999.
Srisuwan said the appointment might also violate the Administrative Procedures 1996 Act, the Defence Ministry ethics directives of 2008, and Number 25 of the code of conduct and ethics of the National Legislative Assembly 2015.
He added it might also violate the intention of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which overthrew an elected government based on accusations of malfeasance.
“The NCPO should not walk in the footsteps of politicians. We call on Patipat to step down from the post to take responsibility and reduce adverse public sentiment,’’ he said.
Srisuwan also demanded that Preecha apologise to the public for his actions.
He filed the same complaint with the Ombudsman’s Office deputy secretary-general Thavin Injamnong asking for an inquiry into the allegations.
Srisuwan added that the NCPO was reforming the country and Preecha held a high-ranking position so he should set a high ethical standard as an example for the public.
Preecha has defended the appointment, saying his actions followed legal procedure and he had the power to do so since Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan had assigned him to endorse the appointment.
He said his son had graduated with a degree in mass communications and he had been appointed to a post that matched his qualifications and education, adding that Patipat had already begun work.
Preecha also said he would check to determine how official documents about his son’s appointment had been leaked to the public.
The permanent secretary added that Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Kongcheep Tantrawanit had announced Patipat’s appointment in line with the law and that the prime minister had been informed of the matter but not made any comment. He added that he was ready to face an NACC investigation.
Meanwhile, Prawit said he saw nothing wrong with the appointment since Preecha had the power to recruit anyone qualified to the post.
“If they are a bachelor’s degree graduate, have a clean bill of health and no criminal record, they can serve as a military officer. Some posts need no test or competition unless there are many candidates vying for the same post,” he said.
Asked if he saw Preecha’s appointment as nepotism, Prawit downplayed criticism, adding that the documents regarding the appointment were not regarded as classified.

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