Reaction to the NACC’s Prawit decision I

28 12 2018

The Bangkok Post has a story reporting negative reaction to the National Anti-Corruption Commission decision to clear Gen Prawit Wongsuwan. It states the NACC:

found itself in the hot seat after it cleared Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon of wrongdoing in the luxury watch scandal, ruling by a majority vote that he did not make a false asset declaration.

It cites Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand, who said:

the NACC failed to show transparency in investigating the case. It did not say what the charges were and initially declared Gen Prawit did not evade asset declaration. It was only after reporters asked whether he could be violating the law about accepting a gift of over 3,000 baht that the NACC said it was another issue.

… He also questioned the investigation process and conclusions of the NACC. “We can ask whether the laws contained loopholes for the asset declaration requirement. In that case, the laws need to be amended,” he said, adding that he wanted to see the individual verdict report of the five NACC members who cleared Gen Prawit of wrongdoing, and the three members who only said there was not enough evidence.

“In the justice procedure, the defendants can say anything but it depends on whether police seek to find the truth or not. Likewise, today we have to look into how the NACC works. But for the defendant, society has judged him already,” Mr Mana said.

The ruling was denounced by activist Thicha Nanakorn. She referred to: “This unscrupulous act by the NACC and the political office-holder will go down in history…”.

There’s more on the NACC “investigation.” On the diamond rings the NACC seems to have considered “some were considered lucky charms.” What does that mean? No value?

The NACC reckons it “sought information from various sources including local dealers of luxury brand watches, the Customs Department, the Foreign Ministry, and from overseas luxury watch manufacturers.” Why and about what is not clear.

An interesting aspect of this report is that while the NACC only located 20 watches, it apparently found scant evidence of the dead business tycoon having purchased the watches:

The investigators found Mr Patthawat bought one from a dealer overseas and two from other people. The NACC could not find purchase documents for the remaining watches and with dealers overseas refusing to give information the agency could not verify the origin of the rest.

This is why the NACC could only assume that the watches actually belonged  to the businessman. That assumption led to NACC concluded “he lent the 21 watches to Gen Prawit.”

Quite an “investigation.”


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