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Who watches the watchmen?

Four 'lenders' to be interviewed over Prawit's watches

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is to interview four 'people of interest' in the corruption investigation surrounding at least 25 luxury watches and jewellery worn by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, seen here with the prime minister at a merit-making ceremony during dismantlement of the Royal Crematorium, last week.

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The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) will question four people linked to the scandal over luxury watches worn by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

NACC president Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said on Thursday that the NACC has set a date for questioning, which will be held at venues agreed upon by the individuals. According to NACC procedures, he said, questioning can either be held at the NACC office or at other locations.

He said that he had not yet seen Gen Prawit's two letters explaining how he came to be in possession of the luxury watches. The NACC's Bureau of Asset Inspection in the Political Sector is investigating the matter before submitting the findings to the NACC main panel for consideration, he added.

Asked whether Gen Prawit might have breached the rule that bars holders of political positions from receiving gifts worth more than 3,000 baht, Pol Gen Watcharapol said NACC investigators "are looking into the matter."

Pol Gen Watcharapol is a former close aide to Gen Prawit. As a result, his neutrality and the integrity of the investigation as a whole have been called into question.

Gen Prawit has been the subject of intense media scrutiny after photographs have surfaced of him wearing 25 different luxury watches, none of which were declared among his assets. This has raised suspicions over how he was able to afford them on his military salary.

He told reporters that he borrowed all of the watches from friends. The public has heavily criticised him for the excuse, saying it was ridiculous.

However, Supreme Commander Thanchaiyan Srisuwan said on Thursday that the armed forces still trusted Gen Prawit and believed he would get through this difficult period.

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Vocabulary:

aide : someone whose job is to help another person in their work - ผู้ช่วย

bar : to officially not allow someone to do something or go somewhere -

breach (noun): a failure to follow a law or rule - การละเมิดกฎหมาย, การละเมิดกฎข้อบังคับ

declare : to tell the tax authorities or other government agency how much money or other assets you have or have have earned - แจ้ง, เปิดเผย

integrity : the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change - ความซื่อสัตย์, ความซื่อตรง

intense : very strong - แรง, เข้มข้น

neutrality : the state of not supporting either side in a competition, disagreement, war, etc. - ความเป็นกลาง

procedure : a way of doing something - ขั้นตอนการดำเนินการ

scrutiny : careful examination of someone or something - การใคร่ครวญอย่างละเอียด

submitted (verb): formally given to someone, usually, but not always, so that they can make a decision about it - ยื่น

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