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Graft body outlines procedures to investigate Prawit, PM

Jan 04. 2018
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By The Nation

A National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) official on Wednesday said that the commission would have to ensure that it had jurisdiction to review recent controversies involving junta officials.

Suthi Boonmee, a director of the investigation and special affairs office, made the comment in outlining the procedures to be used in investigating issues related to the PM purchasing dogs for two of his ministers and Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan’s expensive watches.

Suthi said that after the NACC had received the complaint, it would have to check the credibility of the account and then see if it had the authority under law to scrutinise the issue.

Only if the matter passed those first steps would the case be on the NACC table, he said. The nation’s official graft busters would only then decide if they would take on the case – or not, Suthi added.

Srisuwan Janya lodged a petition on Wednesday urging the NACC to scrutinise PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha for having bought Bangkaew puppies for two of his ministers. The Bt6,000 puppies were priced beyond the limit of the law limiting government officials to gifts valued under Bt3,000.

Suthi said that it should not be too difficult to check the credibility of the case, given it had been a matter that garnered public interest over the past couple of days.

However, he said the agency had to consider whether it was within the NACC’s power and whether it could deemed a case involving “unusual wealth”. If it turned out to be a normal criminal case, the NACC would not have the authority to take it on.

Regarding the possession of seemingly undeclared luxury watches by Deputy PM and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan, Suthi said that Prawit had already sent an explanation letter to the agency. It is examining the letter and other evidence such as the asset list Prawit that had declared upon taking office, he said.

The NACC secretary-general said on Wednesday that the agency would inform the public in a press conference of the progress of the Prawit case alongside others on Friday.

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