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.





Non-voting, unconstitutional puppets “cleared”

23 02 2017

Khaosod reports that the “[s]even [puppet] lawmakers who failed to fulfill their required duties will not lose their jobs…”.

PPT has to say that this is exactly what we expected.

The vice president of the military junta’s puppet National Legislative Assembly, Peerasak Porjit, pre-empted a “review report” due Friday.

He is said to have “[c]ontradict[ed] an expose published earlier this month, [and] said an internal review found the seven members in question had in fact met the minimum participation requirements called for under the body’s regulations, and therefore would not be dismissed.”

The details of the earlier kerfuffle are here and here.

Khaosod adds:

Among the seven, the worst record was held by Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha, the younger brother of junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha. He was found to have cast only six votes out of a total 453 roll calls during a six-month period. Assembly by-laws call for members to be removed if they don’t participate in more than one-third of all votes during a 90-day period.

Puppet Preecha “insisted he had sought and obtained permission for his absenteeism.” Therefore, they would not lose their seats under constitutional provisions.

Khaosod states that NLA president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai decided to make up law and/or display his ignorance of the rules and the junta’s constitution when he “pointed out that the number of sessions the members reportedly missed – 300 to 400 – were the number of roll-call votes and not days. They assembly has only met about 200 days since it was established after the 2014 coup.”

Readers can look at the laws and link through to them on our posts and see that the NLA president is making this up and/or displaying his ignorance and/or arrogance.

We can’t wait for the report to see how this is fudged.





Money for nothing II

17 02 2017

In a post a little while ago, PPT had the story of puppet legislators missing in inaction at the National Legislative Assembly. We mentioned Prachatai’s report of an iLaw study of the apparently unconstitutionality of some members of the military junta’s puppet National Legislative Assembly. We used the word “apparently” because the details of “leaves” taken are considered “secret.”

At the end of that post we speculated that because “leaves” from the puppet NLA are “secret,” and because The Dictator’s brother is one of those involved, and because the junta’s work is at stake, we expected an announcement that the non-attendees were “on leave.”

Clean hands?

Clean hands?

Sure enough, we already have that statement. The Nation reports that Deputy Dictator and Defense Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has declared that “it is not a problem that General Preecha Chan-o-cha, the former Defence permanent secretary and brother of the prime minister, takes frequent leave from legislative meetings…”. Oddly, he also stated that “a committee is being set up to examine the case.”

And just in case you wondered, General Prawit declared that “Preecha took leave under normal regulations of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA)…”.

Of course he did. And, if he didn’t, you can probably bet he has applied now and been approved.

As we understand it, even on leave – for almost all the six months he missed almost all meetings – he still draws his NLA salary that is in excess of 100,000 baht a month.

Money for nothing.

Prawit explained the “situation.” He speculated “that as Preecha also served as the defence permanent secretary he might need to take leave sometimes.”

In any case, the NLA is just a rubber stamp for the junta so missing meetings is hardly an issue for The Dictator and his dictatorship. Demonstrating its puppet status, “Prawit said he had already talked to NLA president Pornpetch Vichitcholchai. Prawit said they found no problems…”.

Still, to launder the record, General Prawit “told Pornpetch to go ahead with setting up a committee to examine the case.”

That will result in a finding that there’s no issue. Junta-led “investigations” of themselves always reach this conclusion.

Naturally enough, General Prawit was loyally supported by “Army Commander General Chalermchai Sittisart also defended the absence of NLA members from legislative meetings, including the PM’s brother.” Chalermchai did admit that the NLA “is far different from a normal House, as it draws members from various professions, many of whom are civil servants, meaning they also have their own work to take care of.” He means its a puppet, rubber stamping hoax legislature.

General Preecha’s record displays considerable evidence of corruption and nepotism. His protection by his brother and the regime is simply one more case of gross double standards.





Money for nothing I

16 02 2017

Many readers will have already seen Prachatai’s report on the iLaw study of the apparently unconstitutionality of some members of the military junta’s puppet National Legislative Assembly. We say “apparently” because the details of “leaves” taken are considered “secret.”

The point made by iLaw – Prachatai’s report doesn’t seem to get it quite right – is that the stipulated requirements of the Assembly are that in order to receive the substantial salaries they receive, the puppets are mandated to attend one-third of voting sessions in the Assembly. The requirement to attend a stipulated number of voting sessions is mandated by the military’s interim constitution at Article 9(5).

Clipped from iLaw

Clipped from iLaw

The big noise in all of this is that, yet again, The Dictator’s brother, General Preecha Chan-ocha, features. Preecha appears to play by his own “rules,” engaging in all kinds of nepotism, while pocketing the loot of his relationships and his military position, with impunity. Preecha is included in the graphic above, with 4 + 1 attendances.

We can also extrapolate a little on these findings. By not attending for the stipulated proportion of voting meetings, prima facie, membership of the Assembly is ended. Thus, by continuing to receive a salary for doing nothing or very little, such members are potentially engaging in an act of corruption. It can also be suggested that any Assembly actions they take are also unconstitutional. In essence, decisions the Assembly has taken, that these members have been involved in – when they managed to attend – may also be deemed unconstitutional.

We can surmise that, because “leaves” are secret, because The Dictator’s brother is involved, and because the junta’s work is at stake, that an announcement will be made that the non-attendees were “on leave.”





The corruption glacier II

14 02 2017

In our previous post we stated that there were two stories today that emphasize how the National Anti-Corruption Commission is politicized, biased and just plain slow. Glacially slow. This post also illustrates some of those issues.

Khaosod reports that an NACC “[i]nvestigation into accusations of cronyism within the ranks of the ruling junta was suspended along with other cases due to a legal technicality…”.

Read the story as political bias, read it as the glacier having stopped inching forward or read it as both.

SchultzThis story seems to say that all inquiries and investigations, “including that over a construction company run by junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha’s nephew, can not move forward until officials implement the changes in recent amendments to anti-graft laws…”.

NACC Secretary-General Sansern Poljiak said: “we halted all cases.”

Oops, sorry, that’s Sgt Schultz in the picture, not General Preecha…. Still, it seems to fit this story. A lot of people seem to know nothing.

So all that guff about Rolls Royce investigations was, for the moment, horse manure? It seems so. But back to “investigations” of nepotism.

Then Sansern told reporters, no, not halted: “It’s the same for every case that we have to slow down for only two months so we can fix internal regulations and make them comply with the bigger laws.”

And if anyone was confused, halted means “working as usual”: “… our works are not being halted. Our officials are still working as usual.”

Sansern declared: “I insist that we have not halted only the fact-finding in the case of Gen. Preecha’s son…”. So that’s the NACC not investigating nepotism, but “fact finding.”

The it turns out that the “halt”-cum-“working as usual” of two months has almost finished. Yes, we know, it is confusing. But, then, think about this post and wonder if “halted” is exactly the same as “working as usual.”

Whatever is (not) happening, we are sure those in the broad elite who do and who have benefited from a corruption network in Thailand can continue to sleep easily at night.





Brotherly corruption

28 12 2016

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.





“Good corruption”

9 10 2016

We think the royalist and yellow-hued media we are reading is a reasonably good reflective of the anti-democrat position on corruption. To be blunt, the broad consensus is that the military regime’s nepotism, corruption and its lack of transparency is a “small price” to pay for keeping the hated Thaksin Shinawatra and the feared red shirts at bay.

Yet a couple of recent cases covered-up by the military dictatorship and its puppets have involved complaints from yellow shirts that are now buried.

SnoutsA day or so ago, the grand old palace schemer and anti-democratic stalwart General Prem Tinsulanonda again babbled on about corruption. We say he babbled not because he is an old man but because he doesn’t mean it. He says things that lots of people can agree with, but in practice its all double standards. He still seems  keen to give all his support to the junta and The Dictator, meaning he simply ignores the corruption of those he thinks are doing the “right” work of “good people” for the self-important “greats” of Thai society.

The junta itself loves the benefits it and its wives, sons, daughters, and others allied with them gain through the junta’s monopolization of political power. Accused of corruption and the only response is cover-ups and denials. They also manage a bunch of flunkies who repeatedly say the junta’s and military’s corruption is not corruption and everything is above board. They often add that there are opponents saying “false” things.

Just in the past few days, the Auditor General and the National Anti-Corruption Commission, in a couple of blunt moves has cleared junta people of any wrongdoing on a couple of seemingly shaky deals.

One was General Prawit Wongsuwan’s Hawaii trip with more than three dozen others that cost the taxpayer far more than it should have. Even without all the details, the Auditor General Pisit Leelavachiropas “confirmed” that Prawit’s trip “was free of irregularities related to the flights and their meals.” (Pisit did not comment on the junta’s arrogance.)

Pisit’s decision seems to also have been influenced by some ridiculous notion of nationalism when he “asked rhetorically if it would be suitable for the delegates to walk down from the plane of another country at an airport reception ceremony.”

Pisit came up with a bunch of other even lamer excuses that can only have come from the junta. We say that because we doubt there are others so lame as to come up with these lamest of lame excuses and think they make any sort of sense.money_down_toilet 2

Only a couple of weeks ago, Pisit was proposing “strong limits on reform of spending on ‘extravagant’ journeys.” Of course, he was hot under the collar about “members of the previous parliaments,” not his military buddies and bosses. (The trip mentioned in the story is of “then House speaker Somsak Kiatsura-nont with 37 others, including journalists and his daughter.” How much did it cost? 7 million baht. How many buddies did Prawit transport and how much did that cost, just for the plane trip?)

Hypocrisy? You bet. But dolts and puppets like Pisit are making an implicit “comparison” of “bad politicians” with “good people” serving the interests of Thailand’s “great and good.”

The other case is the claims of nepotism involving The Dictator and his brother General Preecha Chan-ocha. The NACC reportedly “dropped a complaint against former permanent secretary for defence [General] Preecha …, who was accused of abusing his power to appoint his son as an army officer.”

The NACC, falsely labelled in the report as a “graft watchdog” claimed “insufficient facts to back claims of dereliction of duty against Gen Preecha which led to the much-criticised appointment of his son, Patipat, as acting sub-lieutenant handling civil affairs in the 3rd Army Region.”

The puppet “NACC found Gen Preecha was empowered to approve selections of personnel for jobs in the military.” In making this point, the NACC is assuring us that it is unable to understand notions of conflict of interest, at least where the junta and military is involved.