Teflon Mark and the NACC

25 12 2010

There’s been some publicity given to the recent court decision that upheld a defamation finding against People’s Alliance for Democracy leader Sondhi Limthongkul. PPT is not sure why, because he’s appealing again and out on a tiny bail. Perhaps the publicity has to do with wanting to show that there really aren’t double standards in the judicial system. However, this case hardly seems the one to contradict notions about double standards.

Less publicity has been given to two corruption cases against the prime minister and related parties that have been dropped by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and reported at MCOT News. The two cases the NACC appear dodgy as much as Prime Minister Abhisit seems Teflon-coated for all agencies associated with the law. Is it “Teflon Mark“?

The first was the longstanding complaint on SMS usage “against … Abhisit … and Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij for wrongfully requesting three mobile phone companies to send out mass text messages to 17.2 million numbers free of charge when they first took office in 2008.” Puea Thai’s Chalerm Yubamrung and 158 MPs sought “the removal from office of both Mr. Abhisit and Mr. Korn, accusing them of violating Article 103 of the NACC Act.” However, NACC Secretary-General Apinan Israngura Na Ayuthaya dropped the case because “the SMS were sent as a cooperation request from the government and the mobile telephone operators cooperated voluntarily for public benefit.”

Elite school chums

When school chums Abhisit and Korn, who probably knew from the time the attended elite English schools that they were going to rise to the top, finally did, in boats supplied by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (Korn’s favorites), the military (Abhisit’s favorites) and the palace (supposedly everyone’s favorites), they concocted a plan “to communicate with citizens before the royal appointment of the prime minister on December 17, 2008.”

Oops! Lese majeste! But then all the groups mentioned in the previous sentence were in on the deal that had been done, so no big deal for these scions of the elite royalists. It is stated that Korn demanded a 16 December “meeting of three mobile phone operators, AIS, Dtac and True Move, asking for their cooperation in provide the SMS messages as a public service.” It is also stated that “all messages were screened and approved by Abhisit and Korn. The three operators signed the SMS as sent by UR PM, an abbreviation for your prime minister.”

Royalist government elite chums

Abhisit is reported to have “asked people to help him solve the country’s crisis. Interested mobile phone users were asked to send back their postal codes, at a cost of Bt3.” Now the interesting bit: “The three mobile phone operators confirmed they had cooperated in sending out SMS as the public service on several occasions in the past…. Unlike other short messages sent out as the public service which had no replies, people responded by replying to the SMS sent out by Abhisit and Korn. Each reply generated a Bt3 revenue for the operators.”

The remarkable thing is that the NACC “did not find that the move was malfeasance and the three mobile phone companies have not made any gains from doing as asked. Huh? Yes, that’s right, no gain. Why? Because the “NACC ruled that the reply of SMS was done by mobile users voluntarily and the operators have paid income tax from the replied SMS in accordance with the law.”

In other words, they did make a gain! But the NACC can just let that slip by.

Got off again!

The second case dropped by the NACC involved Abhisit being “accused of abuse of power by giving Kasit Piromya the foreign minister’s post even though Mr Kasit was allegedly involved in the airports seizure by the ‘Yellow Shirt’ People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).” PPT has no details on the case, and none are reported in this story. It simply says: “The NACC said the case dropped for lack of solid evidence.” We guess the question is whether appointing Kasit, who did join the PAD, including at the airport seizures, was really abuse of power or just the elite sticking together.

And, in terms of sticking together, PPT is wondering. We know NACC Secretary-General Apinan Israngura Na Ayuthaya is the same person who back in February was “ready to explain why the agency had not yet completed the cases against the yellow shirts…” and didn’t do it. Okay, we realize this guy is probably reporting rather than making NACC policy, but is he related to this highly placed Israngura Na Ayuthaya who also appears here and here? And is the Assoc. Prof. Narapon Chan-o-cha, listed as a Director of the CPB related to this person? Enough of the linking, it makes one feel as though the establishment is an old boys and girls club of inter-married scions.