As student activists are harassed and even abducted by military thugs, General Udomdej Sitabutr, former Army chief, member of the ruling junta’s cabinet and responsible for the construction of the military’s Rajabhakti Park, reckons he’s in the clear on allegations of corruption.
This may seem a bit odd for a couple of reasons. First, because some others associated with Corruption Park and some other royal events are in exile when they saw the lese majeste net coming, in jail or dead. Second, because Udomdej admitted earlier in this saga that there was corruption.
Despite all of this, Khaosod reports that Udomdej “already cleared by two previous reviews, said today he believes that two other inquiries into the Rajabhakti Park project will likewise find him not guilty of any fault because he didn’t do anything wrong.”
He used the “good person” justification: “Let me insist to everyone that we’re confident in all our procedures, because we have been full of goodwill throughout our efforts…. I insist on my honesty, and I ask all of you to be confident in me…. I’m not worried, because the agencies that are investigating me will give me justice.”
“Justice” is an interesting concept under the military dictatorship. In large part, justice is defined by what The Dictator and his junta determine is a necessary outcome. The military and the junta have worked very hard to eliminate the odor of corruption from this project. Yet none of the investigations are transparent.
As the report explains, the junta “launched two internal inquiries into the park, one led by the army and the other by the Ministry of Defense. Both found no irregularities and declared Udomdej not guilty of any wrongdoing.” Kind of like having John Gotti and Joe Massino investigate each other.
Udomdej still faces two other probes, but neither is likely to find against the interests of the junta. If that interest includes protecting Udomdej, then he’s likely to be in the clear.
Just for good measure, Udomdej has played the monarchy card several times. And he has again: “This project is a good project. It’s a project that we intend to remind people that we still have this country because of the monarchy…”.
Cleaning up the corruption mostly involves pushing the dirt under the rug. But, then, even when the military brass manages to show its ill-gotten gains its still gets away with it.