RTP failing in 'Boss' probe

RTP failing in 'Boss' probe

On Friday, the public prosecutor commission of the Attorney General's Office will make a crucial decision that will have a major impact on the country's judicial system.

The commission will decide whether or not to endorse the findings of an internal disciplinary probe against Nate Naksuk, a former deputy attorney-general, over his questionable handling of the hit-and-run case involving the scion of the Red Bull empire, Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya.

An internal team was assigned to probe if Mr Nate broke any laws when he dropped a reckless driving causing death charge against Mr Vorayuth.

Mr Nate, backed by another high-ranking public prosecutor, decided in March last year to drop the charge against Mr Vorayuth -- basing the move on "new" evidence which painted the deceased victim of the crash as being responsible for his death.

As of yesterday, the public prosecutor commission and the OAG remained tight-lipped when asked about the probe's outcome. However, a report published by Isra News on Saturday quoted information from a source which was familiar with the outcome of the probe.

According to the report, the OAG's disciplinary probe found Mr Nate guilty of a "minor" dereliction of duty, and recommended a light penalty in which his pension benefits would be rescinded.

The probe is the final chance for the OAG to save its reputation after its repeated mishandling of the notorious case. As such, hopefully the public prosecutor committee will make the right decision on Friday.

The image of the OAG and the Royal Thai Police (RTP) have been tarnished by the fact that Mr Vorayuth has been able to escape prosecution since the 2012 deadly crash. In fact, he has reportedly chosen to stay in his swanky flat in London until all charges against him expire.

State officials were accused of allowing Mr Vorayuth to exploit a technicality to drag out the investigation by submitting a petition seeking fair treatment more than six times. And the case went nowhere as charge after charge against the accused reached its statute of limitations.

The groundswell of public disappointment with the OAG and police was so massive that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha last year had to step in.

He appointed respected former graftbuster Vicha Mahakun to lead a panel, which eventually found irregularities and interventions that were aimed to whitewash the wealthy scion.

The Vicha panel found evidence of intervention by officials, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, lawyers and witnesses. Among them were three prosecutors and several high-ranking police officers.

Gen Prayut ordered the AOG and RTP to launch their own probes. However, both law enforcement agencies dragged their feet.

As both agencies were seen as dawdling, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) stepped in last month and launched its own a probe into the case.

At least, the OAG is trying to face up to the problem, whereas the RTP has stayed silent. It has been almost a year since the RTP launched its probe against officers accused of helping out Mr Voravuth, but nothing has emerged so far.

It is time the RTP wakes up to reality. The agency can no longer buy time with the hope that the public will soon forget. Thais can easily forget many, many things -- but certainly not the Red Bull's scion hit-and-run case.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

Email : anchaleek@bangkokpost.co.th

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