Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's brother, Preecha. Image via National News Bureau of Thailand.
Thailand: PM’s brother accused of graft over contracts linked to son, wife
Source: Asian Correspondent
21st September 2016
THE brother of Thailand’s junta leader Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has been accused of corruption over several construction projects linked to his son and wife.
According to local media reports, Gen Preecha Chan-ocha had allegedly abused his position to help his son win two military contracts, and corruptly used state resources and assets to construct a dike after his wife, Pongphan.
There were also claims that an army aircraft was used to transport a delegation which included Pongphan to the opening ceremony of the dike in Chiang Mai on Sept 12.
Prachatai reported that Contemporary Construction Pub. Co. Ltd., a construction company partially owned by his son, Pathomphon Chan-o-cha, was granted contracts for two construction projects from the Thai Army in March 2015 and April 2016.
The first project, according to the independent Thai news site (via Isara news), was the construction of a building for the 3rd Army Division in Phetchabun Province costing some BHT13.68 million (US$393,504).
The second was to build a residential compound in the hospital of Fort Wachiraprakan in the Tak Province worth some BHT13.28 million (US$381,971).
Pathomphon is said to own 33.33 per cent of shares in the company.
According to the Bangkok Post, Preecha, who is also the kingdom’s Defence Permanent Secretary, has dismissed the allegations.
“I have nothing to do (with the awarding of the contracts). I did not abuse my position,”he was quoted saying.
He reportedly added he would not object to any investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on claims he had abused his position to construct the dike.
Association for the Protection of the Constitution Secretary-General Srisuwan Janya has filed a petition with the NACC over the case involving Preecha’s wife, in which another three senior officers were also said to have colluded with the Defence Secretary.
After she was slammed for the red carpet event marking the opening of the dike, Pongphan said the construction was aimed at helping Chiang Mai locals. The dike, she said, was named after her out of respect but is fully owned by the residents.
@XavierKotaro この方、義兄の奥さんと比べてかなり評判悪いですよね。息子があんなのもほったらかされて育ったからだそうです。— YB99 (@YB99) September 19, 2016
“It doesn’t matter whose name is on the weir (dike) as long as the locals own it,” Pongphan said.
In April, Preecha was embroiled in allegations of malfeasance and nepotism, over his other son’s appointment to the army.
Preecha’s son, Patipat, was appointed as an officer in the 3rd Army as an acting sub-lieutenant handling civil affairs, drawing a monthly salary of 15,000 baht (US$428).
Srisuwan alleged that Preecha had abused his power to secure his son’s appointment, a violation under the country’s Anti-Corruption Act 1999, its Administrative Procedure Act 1996, and the Defense Ministry’s code of ethics.
However, Prayuth was quick to brush off allegations of nepotism leveled against his family on the appointment of his nephew into the army.
Prayuth claimed such appointments were a normal practice and that this one was done properly in accordance with legal procedure.