Internal trade chief resigns after transfer

Internal trade chief resigns after transfer

Internal Trade Department director-general Whichai Phochanakij gets a show of support from Commerce Ministry officials during his finbal visit to the office on Monday. (Bangkok Post photo)
Internal Trade Department director-general Whichai Phochanakij gets a show of support from Commerce Ministry officials during his finbal visit to the office on Monday. (Bangkok Post photo)

Internal Trade Department director-general Whichai Phochanakij on Monday tendered his resignation, one day after being transferred to an inactive post pending an investigation into the shortage of face masks. , effective April 23.

The embattled chief submitted his letter of resignation  to permanent secretary for commerce Boonyarit Kalayanamit and asked for the right for one-month's annual leave.

 Mr Whichai attributed his resignation to health problems and his need for a rest, even though he is scheduled to retire at the end of September.

Mr Whichai was transferred to an inactive post at the Prime Minister's Office on Sunday pending an investigation into the export of a large number of face masks just prior to their reclassification as a price-controlled product amid the Covid-19 epidemic.

His immediate removal from office was signed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who said in his order the transfer was aimed at “building confidence among people” and to show the government is taking the issue seriously.

Mr Whichai said he felt a little hurt when he recieved the order and hoped his successor would continue to monitor the prices of goods, work to reduce the people's cost of living and ensure an adequate supply of face masks.


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