FFP deputy leader resigns over army housing scandal

Future Forward Party (FFP) deputy leader Lt Gen Pongsakorn Rodchompoo resigned from his position on Sunday night after it emerged that he was still living in a taxpayer-funded army housing after his retirement.

Lt Gen Pongsakorn posted a statement on his public Facebook profile that he apologize to the Thai public for not informing them that he was still living in an army residence, as he is still in the process of preparing to move out, and that he will move out of the residence by 31 March, in line with the timing of the annual military reshuffle.

He then announced his resignation from FFP’s board of executive and from any other position he has within the party, and that he was in the middle of an overseas trip and will formally inform the party executives of his decision when he returns to Thailand.

Pongsakorn had been a specialist at the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters until his retirement in 2016. Lt Gen Apisit Nuchbusaba, directorate of join civil affairs at the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, said that Lt Gen Pongsakorn has been allowed to continue staying in army residence because he contributed to the armed forces and does not own any property.

According to the financial declarations he filed with the National Anti-Corruption Commission, Lt Gen Pongsakorn also has around 21 million baht in debt.

Following the mass shooting in Nakhon Ratchasima, army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong announced that retired officers will have to vacate their military housings, since the motive of the shooting was believed to be linked to a shortage of army welfare houses caused by many retired officers not giving up their residence after retirement.

Pongsakorn’s retirement came after party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit called, at a rally on Saturday (15 February), for the army to disclose the names of retired officers still living in army residences, and details of the army’s business, such as its investment in golf courses, radios, and TV channels.

Thanathorn also called for the army to disclose its business management budget and to allow the public, the press, and politicians to scrutinize the army in order to take a step forward transparency and army reform.