Ministry’s panel rules to strip Abhisit of rank, salary

A defence panel set up to investigate Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in connection with alleged draft-dodging has decided to strip him of his military rank and recall his salary, the Defence Ministry said Wednesday.

The decision is based on findings that Mr Abhisit used a falsified military personnel registration document to apply for a job as a Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy lecturer.

The job allowed Mr Abhisit to be exempted from military conscription.

The committee, chaired by deputy permanent secretary for defence Gen Prasobchai Kasemsant, was appointed by Defence Minister ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat.

Gen Prasobchai said the committee made the decision on Tuesday after reviewing information connected to the case.

Mr Abhisit was given two weeks to clarify the allegations but the Democrat leader neither supplied information nor gave his statement to the committee, Gen Prasobchai said.

The committee has found that Mr Abhisit dodged mandatory conscription, was not properly granted an exemption and used a falsified document to apply for an army position.

"The committee has agreed to strip him of his military rank and demand the return of salary," Gen Prasobchai said.

As a former teacher at the army academy, Mr Abhisit has a rank of acting sub-lieutenant and received a salary from the academy.

The committee’s report was sent to ACM Sukumpol for consideration, Gen Prasobchai said. He said the defence minister is expected to hold a press conference on the ruling this week.

Mr Abhisit could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

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Writer: Wassana Nanuam
Position: Reporter