SUNDAY, February 25, 2024

DSI chief shifted to Justice Ministry in pork-smuggling shakeup

DSI chief shifted to Justice Ministry in pork-smuggling shakeup

The Cabinet on Tuesday shifted Pol Major Suriya Singhakamol from the powerful post of Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief to that of the Justice Ministry’s deputy permanent secretary.

The shift was done in response to a proposal from the justice minister to reshuffle two senior posts.

Apart from having Suriya transferred, the Cabinet also approved the transfer of Lt-Colonel Prawut Wongsinil.

Prawut was shifted from his post as deputy permanent secretary of the Justice Ministry to the post of director-general of the Juvenile Observation and Protection Department.

The post of a deputy permanent secretary is considered to be ceremonial with no real authority.

Observers believe Suriya was abruptly shifted because the DSI was too slow in identifying the “big fish” behind the pork-smuggling scandal.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin reportedly complained that the DSI only caught small fry instead of tracking down the masterminds behind the pork-smuggling racket.

Srettha said the smuggling of pork has hurt pig farmers, causing the price of pork to tumble.

Meanwhile, in a comment on DSI’s Facebook page, Suriya said he anticipated this shift. “I told myself all the time since I became DSI chief that this day will come one day. Anyway, I chose my own path from the beginning. I don’t regret it as I have done my best. I feel honoured to have worked with you all.”

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao said Suriya’s transfer should not be seen as a punishment, adding that it was the Justice Ministry’s internal matter.

“I affirm it has nothing to do with the smuggling of pork, because the DSI chief has been doing his work diligently,” he said.

However, government spokesman Chai Wacharonke clearly indicated that Suriya had been transferred because DSI had been too slow in tackling the problem with pork smuggling.

“The government wants to suppress pork smuggling with speed and efficiency,” the spokesman said.

“When an official receives an assignment, he must work fast and efficiently. A new executive will have to be assigned the job if the previous one is not efficient enough despite having an outstanding work record.”

He added that the transfer was not a punishment, because Suriya had only been shifted to a post with equal ranking.

He added that the Cabinet has not yet appointed a new DSI chief, and a deputy must act as the DSI director-general pending appointment.