Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A simple way for junta to pass anti-corruption credibility test

Dec 31. 2018
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Re: “NACC clears Prawit of any wrongdoing over watches”, Politics, December 28. 

Like Caesar’s wife, Deputy PM and Defence Minister Prawit must be above suspicion as to where he got the 22 ultra-luxury watches allegedly worth Bt36.9 million. NACC chairman Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit announced that his former direct boss, General Prawit, didn’t make a false asset declaration – but the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand and many others aren’t convinced.

The NACC and Prawit should be completely transparent about the matter. As police often say to suspects, “If you’re innocent, why try to hide things?” 

Prawit, the NACC and the heirs of the alleged true owner, Patawat Suksriwong, should put the documents, watch serial numbers, interview reports, etc, on the web, with waivers of confidentiality for all journalists and anti-corruption organisations, and let investigative journalists do their job. For example, did Patawat really loan other ultra-expensive watches and money to his St Gabriel classmates for decades in return for nothing? Did Patawat have children, etc, whom Prawit might have helped in return for the “loan”? The Swiss manufacturers must have warranty records of the original owners – how did the timepieces find their way to the alleged owner – or to Prawit? Have import duties been paid on any of the watches, each of which is many times over the duty-free import limit – including those “lent” to other friends? If not, then the owner is liable for massive fines and possible jail time.

Elections are just two months off, and millions don’t believe that PM Prayut has been serious in fighting corruption because of this case. Show the Doubting Thomases that they’re wrong, and come clean.

Burin Kantabutra

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