What should have been the big story today seems to have been reduced in significance in some newspapers as they pussyfoot around the story. It is the story provided by Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution.
He “wants the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate the mansion reportedly owned by former permanent secretary for defence, Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha, who allegedly failed to declare the property to the anti-graft body.” The photos of the mansion and details of the assets declaration are here (in Thai).
General Preecha is a younger brother of General Prayuth Chan-ocha. He’s got form.
When Preecha made his assets declaration, their were problems. Then, in April, The Dictator was defending his brother against allegations of nepotism after a leaked memo revealed that the permanent secretary for defence had secured a military post for a son. Earlier posts, here and here, provide the background.The last reported scandal was when another of General Preecha’s sons was getting military contracts from the army region his father once commanded.
He’s already past three strikes. And now a mansion.
Srisuwan’s petition to the NACC is about a large house in Phitsanulok’s Muang district said to belong to General Preecha and that went undeclared. As the corrupt often say, it’s difficult to remember all of one’s assets when one has so much.
Anti-corruption advocate and rabid yellow shirt, Veera Somkwamkid “posted on the internet pictures of a luxury house he described as a multi-million-baht mansion constructed on two conjoined plots of land totaling 5 rai.” Veera claims “neighbours confirmed the owners were none other than Gen Preecha and his wife, Phongphan.”
Apparently General Preecha “was quoted in interviews as saying it was his. He said he did not declare it because it was not yet finished and didn’t have a house number.” He said he purchased the land in 2011 and it “had already been included on an assets list submitted to the NACC for inspection.”
The Dictator pushed back, saying: “It’s my brother’s business. Let him explain whether [he has] abided by the law or not…”.
We guess Preecha will remain untouched, unless The Dictator decides Preecha’s failures are weakening the junta’s grip.