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Prayut cleared in army housing case

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha smiles to reporters as he leaves a meeting on Covid-19 at Government House on Wednesday. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has been cleared of any wrongdoing in staying in army housing while being the prime minister.

His occupancy was allowed under a 2005 army regulation, which lets army chiefs continue to stay on base after they retire if they continue to serve the country well, according to the ruling read out at the court in Bangkok on Wednesday afternoon.

The Constitutional Court said the regulation had come into effect before Gen Prayut was the army chief, and other former army commanders also receive the same benefits.

The court said the army regulation allowed its former commanders to use such houses, and to subsidised utility bills.

“When he became prime minister on Aug 24, 2014, the complainee [Gen Prayut] was also the army chief in active duty. He was therefore qualified to stay in the house in his capacity as the army chief. When he retired on Sept 30, 2014, he was still qualified to stay as a former army chief. A prime minister who had not been army chief could not have stayed at the house,” the court said in its ruling.

The free utilities also do not constitute a conflict of interest since they are part of the welfare that comes with the housing.

For these reasons, the court ruled the premiership of Gen Prayut does not terminate and he did not seriously violate the code of ethics.

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clear : to prove that somebody is innocent, i.e., that someone is not guilty of what they have been accused of - พิสูจน์ว่าไม่มีความผิด

code of ethics : the rules of morally proper behaviour - ประมวลจริยธรรม, ระเบียบวินัย

conflict of interest : a situation in which someone cannot make a fair decision because they will be affected by the results - ผลประโยชน์ทับซ้อน

Constitutional Court (noun): the court that decides whether or not laws follow the constitution - ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ

occupancy (noun): the use, or the period of use, of a place, a space, etc. - การพำนักอาศัย

regulation : an official rule that controls the way that things are done - กฎระเบียบ

retire : to stop working because you have reached the age where you are officially too old to work - เกษียณอายุ

subsidised : paid part of the cost of something - ให้ความช่วยเหลือด้านการเงิน

terminate : to end or stop something - ทำให้สิ้นสุด

violate : to do something that is against a law, rule or agreement - ฝ่าฝืน, ละเมิด


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