Wissanu denies his appointment has anything to do with Srettha’s case

TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2024

It’s just coincidental, says legal expert as he rejects speculation of him leading PM’s defence team

Former deputy prime minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said the Cabinet Secretariat had been courting him well before a petition against Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin went to the Constitutional Court.

Speaking to Nation TV on Tuesday, Wissanu said the secretariat had offered him an adviser’s post soon after the General Prayut Chan-o-cha government’s tenure ended.

He added that Srettha had only recently learned of the Cabinet Secretariat courting him, and visited him on Saturday to say that he will be appointing him to the advisory post.

Srettha reportedly signed an order appointing Wissanu as a legal adviser to the Cabinet Secretariat on Monday afternoon.

“Earlier, I talked to someone at the Cabinet Secretariat. They wanted to reform the documentation system of the secretariat and the Cabinet Secretariat and wanted me to act as their adviser,” Wissanu said.

He added that since the post was not a political position, he would not have to declare his assets to the National Anti-Corruption Commission. Wissanu also said his post will be very different from that of a PM’s adviser.

He said Srettha happened to be in his neighbourhood on Saturday, so stopped by at his home.

“We spoke of many things. He told me about his trip to Europe and France, and also raised the issue of 40 senators seeking his ouster by the Constitutional Court,” Wissanu said.

It was earlier speculated that Wissanu was appointed as legal adviser to the Cabinet Secretariat to lead Srettha’s defence team in the Constitutional Court.

However, Wissanu said, the defence team will be led by former PM’s Office minister Pichit Chuenban.

Pichit, former defence lawyer of ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, was appointed as PM’s Office minister by Srettha in the Cabinet reshuffle in late April. However, 40 senators filed a petition with the charter court claiming Srettha had violated the code for political ethics and the Constitution by appointing Pichit to his Cabinet as he had once been jailed. Pichit was flung behind bars for six months over contempt of court related to a “bribes in a snack bag” scandal.

Pichit resigned before the court decided
whether to accept the petition to have him removed from the Cabinet and his case was dismissed. However, the accusation against Srettha stands.

“It’s not me,” Wissanu said when asked if he would lead the defence team for Srettha. He also said he had learned that the Cabinet Secretariat had prepared a written defence for the prime minister in advance.

When asked if he would seek a Cabinet seat later, Wissanu said he would not accept any political posts. “I need to rest and recover my health,” he said.