Stripping Abhisit's rank needs HM's approval

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has already been discharged from the military, but stripping him of his rank requires royal approval, Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat said on Monday.

ACM Sukumpol said Mr Abhisit 's discharge was already effective. However, the Ministry of Defence has the power to strip the commission from officers only from the rank of acting second lieutenant and below.

Mr Abhisit holds the rank of second lieutenant. The decision to take his rank away from him needs royal approval and must be published in the Royal Gazette before it is effective.

ACM Sukumpol said the Office of the Ombudsman has inquired about the progress in the matter, so the ministry has to process the case. The ministry's own investigation found evidence that Mr Abhisit did not report personally for the military draft and that he had falsified a military document.

"A falsified military document was used to obtain a military position [teacher at a military academy] so the man had to be discharged from the military and his rank stripped from him.

"I did not punish him, I only took back something that was illegally taken from the military," ACM Sukumpol said.

"He could not blame the registrar. There was only one beneficiary from the falsified document. No one else benefitted from it. Everything was carefully investigated and it is not a personal issue," he said.

The defence minister said the Democrat Party leader had not received a military pension for some time now. He  had not been using his military rank, he said, claiming this was probably because he knew he was guilty.

The defence committee would further investigate the decision to recall Mr Abhisit's salary which he received as a lecturer at Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.

ACM Sukumpol said Mr Abhisit's decision to sue him would not affect the decision to take away his military rank. The court had not made any order in this regard.

Related search: Abhisit vejjajiva, military rank

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Writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
Position: Reporter