Former defence secretary 'unusually rich'

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has resolved to freeze about 65 million baht of assets held by Gen Sathian Permthong-in, a former defence permanent secretary, his wife and their adopted daughter after concluding that the retired general is unusually wealthy and had made a false declaration of assets and liabilities.

The decision was announced on Tuesday by Vicha Mahakhun, a member of the NACC.

According to Mr Vicha, the NACC found Gen Sathian committed two offences.

In the first case, the NACC found Gen Sathian made a false declaration of assets worth 14 million baht while serving as a board member of the Warehouse Organisation from 2007-2008.  The NACC forwarded this case to the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions for a final judgement .

In the second case, Gen Sathian was found to be unusually rich while holding the posts of Warehouse Organisation board member and chief of the Armed Forces Development Unit under the Supreme Command, because more than 10 million baht was transferred into his bank account and more than 100 million baht into the accounts of his wife, Nathanicha, and their adopted daughter.

The money in the step daughter's account was later transferred to Sombat Chanthornwong, a political science lecturer at  Thammasat University.

Mr Sombat testified to the NACC that he received the money from Gen Sathian's adopted daughter and invested it in the university's savings cooperative on her behalf.

The NACC, therefore, resolved to freeze 65 million baht of assets held by the three people which could not be accounted for.

Gen Sathian Permthong-in (File Photo)

Gen Sathian can submit a defence statement to the NACC within 30 days, Mr Vicha said.

In August last year, Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat abruptly signed an order transfering Gen Sathian, who was then permanent secretary for defence, and two other senior officers to inactive posts at the Defence Minister's office.

The two other officers are Gen Chatree Thatti, a deputy permanent secretary, and Gen Pinphat Siriwat, director of the Defence Secretariat. The three officers were in charge of preparing the annual military reshuffle list.

The transfer of the three officers came just a few days after Gen Sathian unsuccessfully sought a meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to complain that ACM Sukampol was trying to interfere in the annual reshuffle of senior military officers.

ACM Sukumpol was said to favour Gen Thanongsak Apirakyothin for the post of permanent defence secretary, while Gen Sathian wanted Gen Chatree to be his successor. Gen Thanong was finally appointed to the job.

The NACC earlier found a number of politicians and high-level government officials unusually wealthy and asked the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions to seize their assets.

In the most recent case, the NACC on July 24, 2012 resolved to seize 64.7 million baht assets from Supot Saplom, a former transport permanent secretary, after having earlier seized 17.5 million baht and 10 baht weight of gold ornaments and a volkswagen worth three million baht from him for being unusually rich.

On Feb 26, 2010, the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions found former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra guilty of being unusually wealthy and ordered the seizure of 46 billion baht from the amount he received from selling shares of Shin Corp, as requested by the NACC.

On Sept 30, 2003, the same court ordered the seizure of 233.8 million baht assets from former public health minister Rakkiat Sukthana. Mr Rakkiat was the first former cabinet minister to have been sentenced to jail, receiving 15 years imprisonment for corruption in the procurement of medical equipment and medicines.

Related search: Gen Sathian Permthong-in, defence secretary, NACC, unusually rich, corruption

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