There is no justice

18 03 2017

Back in January, referring to a Prachatai story, we felt that the “fact” that public prosecutors had dropped defamation charges against Naritsarawan  Keawnopparat suggested that someone in the regime was displaying something approaching good commonsense.

Naritsarawan had campaigned for justice over the torture of her uncle who was tortured and killed by the military, while he was enlisted as a conscript.

According to an Army investigation, in 2011, her uncle, Wichian Puaksom, was tortured by other soldiers and officers. They accused of running away from military training. The Army report said Wichian was stripped down to his underwear and dragged him over a rough cement surface before being repeatedly kicked and beaten for several hours. The tormentors then applied salt to his wounds to increase his pain, wrapped him in a white sheet, tying his hands together as for a corpse and read funeral rites, before engaging in further beatings. He later died.

Police arrested Naritsarawan on 26 July 2016 for publishing details on the internet about the death of her late uncle. Major Phuri Phueksophon of the 4th Army Region, the unit responsible for the torture of her uncle — accused Naritsarawan of violating the Computer Crime Act and defaming him by exposing the torture.

The prosecution is now back on as police have overridden the prosecutor’s decision.

Naritsarawan has received a letter after Pol Maj Gen Ronnasin Phusara, Interim Commander of the Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Center, stating “that she should be charged under the Computer Crime Act and Criminal Defamation for for publishing details on the internet about the death of her late uncle.”

It seems there’s no justice.





Another junta crook gets off

15 03 2017

No corruption allegations ever sticks to the military junta’s allies, or so it seems.

In the case of Pol Lt Gen Sanit Mahathavorn, everyone, and we mean everyone, knows he did it. But, as The Nation reports, he is let off without a charge or even a slap on the “ethics” wrist.

The Office of the Ombudsman has given up or been pressured to give up its “probe into city police chief Lt-General Sanit … allegedly earning Bt50,000 a month as an adviser to the country’s biggest producer of alcoholic drinks, Thai Beverage…”.

The Ombudsman seems to have decided, as it often does, except where junta political opponents are involved, that “there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case.”

Sanit’s “excuse” is that declaring the payment was an error. He claimed “that there was a mistake on his asset declaration as a new member of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA).” What kind of mistake? “He said he had asked others to handle the declaration for him and he had never worked for the firm.”

So the claim is that some underling conjured up his illicit payment from ThaiBev. He or she just had a dream and wrote it on the boss’s declaration. That’s buffalo manure, but the dolts and political flunkies at the Ombudsman “believe” it because there’s no “evidence” to the contrary (apart from the declaration).

More importantly, Thai Beverage “said in a letter to the office that it did not hire Sanit as an adviser.” They are fibbing too. Of course they pay him, and plenty of other cops too. Everyone knows they do this. But it is “good business practice,” and “everybody” does it and all the junta boys are on the take too.

The tough pussies at the “Ombudsman’s Office sent a notice to Sanit warning him to be more careful in the future by thoroughly checking documents when complied by another person on his behalf and submitted to an official body signed by him.”

So the company and the cop get away with it.

Can it get any more pathetic than this?





Corruption updates

13 03 2017

Two interesting reports, both suggesting how muddy the waters are around both cases, with the authorities being the ones throwing the mud.

First, and one of our favorites in recent times, the case of Pol. Lt. Gen. Sanit Mahathavorn. Sanit at first disclosed that he was receiving 50,000 baht a month from ThaiBev, owned by one of Thailand’s wealthiest Sino-Thai conglomerates. When questions were asked, he took some time to think up a story. Finally, a story was produced: Sanit claimed there was a “mistake” in his asset declaration. He claimed he had never been an adviser for the alcoholic drink giant, Thai Beverage Plc. And that story was relayed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Khaosod reports that Sanit’s story doesn’t work for everyone. Now the Ombudsman says they don’t accept the lies claims. It says it has “obtained his original financial disclosure document and found it certified with his signature.” In other words, he was getting the payment.

The Ombudsman is only looking at “ethics rules.” Sanit, like many other top cops will be confused by this word “ethics.”

Given that both Sanit and ThaiBev have denied any financial relationship, some serious questions should be asked. We doubt anyone will ask any.

Second, the Rolls Royce saga continues with continuing confusing reporting. The Bangkok Post reports that “National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) plans this week to discuss the scope of an investigation into the alleged bribes paid to 26 former Thai cabinet ministers and executives of Thai Airways International (THAI) in the Rolls-Royce bribery scandal.”

The report adds that “the three NACC members and the NACC secretary-general will discuss the probe framework this week with the sub-committee tasked with finding facts in the alleged bribe payments.” They reckon they might need some more “evidence.”

And, oh yes, the “NACC will focus on the third phase of the bribery scandal that occurred between 2004 and 2005…”. That seems to mean they will only look at that period, when the government was with Thaksin Shinawatra. No politics here, of course, because the NACC says this is the only period not outside the statute of limitations on such alleged crimes.

What of that “ethics” word? Unlike the Ombudsman, the NACC seems to have forgotten it or never seen it. What about the idea of naming and shaming those in earlier periods? That might be a bit difficult for the NACC because they’d be up against the “great and good” who are strong allies of anti-democrats and military junta.





More junta maneuvering

8 03 2017

Several reports today show the slithering maneuverings by the junta promise more junta, more censorship and more corruption.

The first story follows from another a couple of days ago on more “delays” to the “election” schedule. Now the chief constitution launderer Meechai Ruchupan has apparently agreed that it may be late 2018 before there’s an “election.” Our view is that the military dictatorship intends to stay put for as long as possible and then ensure that it continues as an “elected” government. While even well laid plans get skittled, it looks like Thailand is under the military boot for a lot longer.

The second story is about the junta shutting down the BBC. It seems the “BBC World Service has stopped broadcasting from one of its major global transmission stations situated in Thailand … after talks broke down with a junta riled by its uncensored coverage.”

The BBC’s transmitter in Thailand and is the “network’s main shortwave broadcast station for Asia.” It is clear that the 20-year lease has not been renewed because the junta wants BBC and BBC Thai to be censored. The junta is a bunch of knuckle draggers who want to control Thailands past and present. It will only get worse as the junta has to cover-up its own corruption and clean the palace’s dirty laundry.

The third story, totally predictable, is of the continuing failure to do anything serious about the Rolls Royce corruption. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) “will decide on Thursday whether to set up a subcommittee to investigate allegations of bribery involving UK-based jet-engine maker Rolls-Royce and some Thai companies.” How wonderful! No other progress…. We assume that’s the way the junta prefers it.





Money for nothing III

1 03 2017

Remember that case of the big liquor and beer firm ThaiBev paying the Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Sanit Mahathavorn a 50,000 baht a month advisor’s fee?

Well, we are now told it never happened! Just like magic, the allegation and even the policeman’s self-declaration is gone! Poof!

The Bangkok Post reports that Sanit “claims there was a ‘mistake’ in his asset declaration and insists he has never worked as an adviser for the alcoholic drink giant, Thai Beverage Plc…”. And that’s according to Thailand’s Office of the Ombudsman.

When you are a top cop it must be difficult to keep track of all the ill-gotten gains. There’s just so much of it.

Oh, and it wasn’t his declaration. “Pol Lt Gen Sanit claimed his asset declaration submitted to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) contained a ‘mistake’ because he did not prepare it himself, which caused a misunderstanding among his staff.”

And guess what? The company supports him! “In fact, Pol Lt Gen Sanit claimed he has never done the job in question, an assertion now backed up by the beverage giant itself.”

Whew! We are so pleased that’s all sorted out. We just wonder what Sanit’s next magic trick will be. It is such a wonderful performance. And to have the country’s richest as a supporting act is just so, well, revealing!

We imagine that any documents pertaining to the non-position and non-salary are now non-documents.

Seriously, Sanit and his business buddies must think the Thai public a bunch of dolts if they think that such a ridiculous, cobbled together nonsense can be believed. But what these crooks do know is that they expect impunity.





Graft failures continue

28 02 2017

Remember the Rolls Royce graft story? Forgotten it already? The junta’s government seems to hope it goes away. In the best tradition of burying graft allegations, dragging out a case seems to one way of hoping it will go away.

The Bangkok Post reports that the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) “has admitted there has been no progress in its investigation into the Rolls-Royce bribery scandal involving two major state enterprises.”

That’s none. Zilch.

But never mind, a “newly-appointed joint committee on anti-graft” will hold meetings to “consider high-profile corruption cases, including the Rolls-Royce scandal.”

The new committee is “headed by NACC president Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit and comprises the section heads of various agencies such as the Justice Ministry, the Office of the Attorney-General, the Anti-Money Laundering Office, the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of the Auditor-General.”

That should work better than the other committees and agencies, right? Probably not. It might be better for a burial of all the charges.

On the Rolls Royce case, NACC secretary-general Sansern Poljeak said “the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) which is pursuing lawsuits against British manufacturing giant Rolls-Royce over corrupt acts, has not yet handed over documents to the Thai agency.”

We guess blaming the British is useful for the NACC in deflecting criticism of their non-work.

Sansern did say that the “British officials are apparently concerned about the confidentiality of the information they are expected to forward to Thai officials for use in the probe.”

That would seem a reasonable concern, especially when the SFO is dealing with multiple and competing Thai agencies, all of which are incompetent.

The NACC says it “needs hard evidence from the SFO and other official foreign agencies to take legal action against the accused.” Of course they do. They do not want to do any of their own investigations because they are politicized and incompetent.

And guess what? One of the issues of confidentiality is the new committee: “After the panel was formed last week, the SFO sent an email to the NACC expressing concerns about the confidentiality of the information it would hand over to the NACC…”.

Sansern said the new committee would consider the “issue…”.

And, if blaming the Brits is insufficient, also blame the Americans: “the NACC has not yet received documents from the US Department of Justice.”

On another related bribery case, as expected, “PTT Plc president and chief executive Tevin Vongvanich earlier admitted the firm had made no progress in its internal investigation into the Rolls-Royce bribery allegations…”.

PTT had “set up an internal investigative committee consisting of company members who have never been involved in procurement or auction processes in order to ensure transparency.” Nothing. No progress, but “the committee continued to gather evidence and information.”

Another Bangkok Post report is about the new super-committee meeting for the first time. They seemed to rewind to the early days of the RR “investigation,” deciding who the “lead agency” should be. “It has been agreed the Office of the Attorney-General will be responsible for requesting documents and information from the British Serious Fraud Office…”.

The Office of the Attorney-General seems to have rewound the tape of investigation: “Amnat Chotchai, director-general of the International Affairs Department [of AG]… “said the investigation into the Roll-Royce scandal has hit a snag due to a lack of information.”

The death penalty excuse came up again, but has again been dismissed by the Thai “investigators.”

And is the new super-committee sorting things out? No. “Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, chairman of the … NACC … and head of the joint panel, said the prosecution [no idea what this means] has been put in charge of coordinating with the SFO to seek evidence and documents while the NACC will coordinate ‘unofficially’ for information.” So not the AG’s office?

Creating a shemozzle is one of the best ways of not getting things done. And this looks like a classic case of bureaucratic shemozzle that might even be called “corruption” among the anti-corruption agencies.

The NACC boss rambled on: “The matter has been resolved [we are not sure which matter he means]. There will be no more problem when it comes to seeking information…”. Yeah, right…. He is a senior policeman and they are masters of illogic and corruption cover-ups.

He went further! The case is not stalled at all! “Pol Gen Watcharapol said while the NACC has gathered facts involving THAI, the agency still needs to verify some information before it decides to press charges against those allegedly involved in the scandal.”More: “The NACC has information about who were involved in the two first two periods of the bribery but we have to be sure before we go ahead and press charges. We are still gathering information about the third period…”.

Wow. In the space of a day, the stalled investigation is almost finished. Stunning. Amazing. Lies.

We are sure that it is not just us who think this is a hastily cobbled together sham and a sad joke.





Fudged to save well-paid relatives and buddies

24 02 2017

In an earlier post, we commented on the “clearing” of the seven puppet lawmakers who were “investigated” on allegations that they had failed to fulfill their required duties with the National Legislative Assembly. A report was said to be forthcoming that cleared the well-paid and senior friends of the junta.

PPT concluded by stating: We can’t wait for the report to see how this is fudged.

The Bangkok Post has now reported on this. It is another one of the junta’s concoctions to preserve nepotism, corruption and impunity.

NLA secretary general Vararat Atiphaet “told reporters on Friday that from Jan 1-Dec 31, 2016, NLA members voted 1,264 times in total.” She went on to confirm that “each member had to cast in at least one-third of the votes, or 421, to maintain their status.”

Helpfully, the Post constructed the table below:

From the Bangkok Post

For the table, a year of attendances is presented by the NLA and only “missed votes without prior leave-of-absence requests shall be counted as missed votes.”

As the Post points out, there’s hocus pocus going on: “the timeframe the NLA used in the calculation was 365 days even though its own regulation says the one-third rule applies to a 90-day period.” This sleight of hand went unexplained.

So the data is a pile of buffalo manure. Even so, the absences are remarkable! The next question is when those in the table (and others) are skiving off are they still “paid a position allowance of 71,230 baht and an extra allowance of 42,330 a month, totalling 113,560 baht.” And that doesn’t include “committee allowances.”

The answer seems to be that “If a member fails to attend half of the meetings scheduled each month, he will not receive the extra allowance for that month unless he is on a parliamentary trip approved by the NLA president.” So, the money for nothing seems to be 71,000 baht++.

Recall also, as the Post points out, these lazy thugs get an “allowance” so they can continue to collect other salaries:

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said two years ago that a state official may not receive salaries from more than one source but may accept unlimited position allowances and other compensation so long as the payments are not called a salary.

The trough is filled with loot and is warm and inviting. These guys are swimming in it.