HONG KONG FUNDS MYSTERY
Deputy permanent secretary for justice Dusadee Arayawuthi yesterday denied claims by the Democrat Party and an anti-corruption group that he was aware of 16 billion baht allegedly siphoned from Thailand to Hong Kong.
But he said he was ready to assist with a probe into the case if a committee was set up and he was appointed as a committee member.
"If it is true, it wouldn't be hard to investigate. When funds are frozen, someone will usually come forward to have the money released," Pol Col Dusadee said.
Nation Associate Anti-Corruption Network (NACN) secretary-general Mongkolkit Suksintharanon earlier claimed that Pol Col Dusadee, who is also the former Public Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) secretary-general, had knowledge of the alleged transfer.
Mr Mongkolkit claimed to have heard from Hong Kong authorities that the money was confiscated for investigation and was suspected to be the proceeds of corruption. The Democrats are using the issue to attack the government.
But Justice Minister Pracha Promnok has attempted to dispel Mr Mongkolkot's claims, saying the Hong Kong's anti-money laundering authority knows nothing of the money. He said Anti-Money Laundering Office secretary-general Sihanart Prayoonrat had inquired with the Hong Kong authority, only to be informed the alleged transfer was non-existent. Mr Mongkolkit said on Saturday that Hong Kong authorities told NACN senior members last month they were investigating the source and owners of the confiscated money to establish whether corruption was involved.
After obtaining the details, the NACN contacted former PACC secretary-general Pol Col Dusadee to discuss the matter, he said.
Mr Mongkolkit said a previous investigation by the PACC found corruption in the government's flood compensation scheme could be worth as much as 40 billion baht. He suspects the 16 billion baht allegedly frozen by Hong Kong authorities could be part of that.
Mr Mongkolkit yesterday urged the government to set up a committee to investigate the claim.
He stressed the committee must work independently, without interference.
Mr Mongkolkit claimed his network had found the money transfer might be linked to at least 30 politicians _ mostly from the ruling Pheu Thai Party and some from the opposition Democrat Party.
He said the money was not only siphoned to other countries, but also kept in the houses of politicians.
The money was most likely transferred to Hong Kong via large businesses in Thailand, he said.
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- Writer: Mongkol Bangprapa