Prosecutor removed for supporting probe against junta’s leader brother

The Chair of the Department of Public Prosecutor Commission (DPPC) has removed the Deputy Director-General of the DPPC after he supported a call to investigate corruption allegations against the junta leader’s brother.

On 5 October 2016, Pol Sub Lt Pongniwat Yuthapanboriparn, Attorney-General and Chair of the DPPC, authorised an order to remove Poramet Intharachumnum, Deputy Director-General of the Criminal Litigation Department, Isra News reported.

Poramet was removed one week after he posted a long Facebook message on his account about the corruption allegations against Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha, the Permanent Secretary of the Defence Ministry and brother of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister.

The now removed prosecutor’s message on Facebook rebuked the junta leader’s statement mocking former Senator Ruangkrai Leekitwattana and Srisuwan Janya, Secretary-General of a political group called the Association to Protect the Thai Constitution (APTC).

The two in late September called for a probe into corruption allegations against the junta leader’s brother.

Prayut said at a press briefing then that there should be an investigation into what the occupations of Ruangkrai and Srisuwan are, adding that he would like to probe them on certain matters as well.

Supporting the two, part of Poramet’s Facebook message reads “I would like to tell you [the junta leader] that the two [Ruangkrai and Srisuwan] are Thai citizens who love the nation no less than you do and they are doing their duty as good citizens.”

According to Matichon Online, the Chair of the DPPC said that Poramet was removed because he is now being investigated for his Facebook message since it made headlines on many media outlets.

He said that he did not receive any pressure to authorise the removal.

On 19 September 2016, Srisuwan submitted a letter to the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), urging it to investigate Pongphan Chan-o-cha, Preecha Chan-o-cha’s wife, who is the Chairwoman of the Army Housewives Association.

Srisuwan urged the NACC to probe her and her husband over her role in presiding over the opening ceremony of a weir named ‘Mae Pongphan Development Weir’ on 12 September in Doi Wiang Pha National Park in Fang District of Chiang Mai. It was reported that at the same event, water containers bearing her name were presented to army bases in the area.

The APTC leader wants the NACC to decide whether Pongphan’s action amounts to corruption because she used the staff and budget of the Defence Ministry for the irrigation project despite the fact that she is not a civil servant, adding that Pongphan and her followers also travelled from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in an aircraft belonging to the Royal Thai Air Force.

Isara news also reported in September that Contemporary Construction, a construction company with shares held by Pathomphon Chan-o-cha, Preecha’s son, was also granted contracts from the Thai Army for two construction projects in March 2015 and April 2016.

The first project was the construction of a building for the 3rd Army Division in Phetchabun Province with a base budget of about 13.68 million baht while the second project was the construction of a residential compound in the hospital of Fort Wachiraprakan in Tak Province with a base budget of about 13.28 million baht.

Poramet Intharachumnum, Deputy Director-General of the Criminal Litigation Department of the DPPC, who was recently removed from his post