Unusually rich?

There are some very rich people in the National Legislative Assembly, including state officials whose salaries are relatively low, prompting calls for explanations.

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The National Legislative Assembly members have disclosed their assets and many are very wealthy indeed. Just how they obtained their wealth is not yet clear. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

Outcry builds for NLA asset probe

Rosana encourages tip-offs from public

Nattaya Chetchotiros,
Aekarach Sattaburuth
Prangthong Jitcharoenkul

Rosana Tositrakul, a leading member of the National Reform Council. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

A leading member of the National Reform Council (NRC) threw her support behind the anti-graft agency's proposal yesterday to invite public input on investigating the assets of National Legislative Assembly (NLA) members.

Rosana Tositrakul said she agreed with National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) secretary-general Sansern Poljiak's suggestion that members of the public should come forward if they have information about the sources of suspicious assets.

Last week, the net worth of NLA members was posted on the NACC's website.

She went further, saying the NACC should offer cash rewards to informants for tip-offs that help it identify any dubious origins of wealth held by government officials, at all levels, who refuse to clarify their income sources.

Over the past several years, corruption has spread rapidly, creating a need for a stricter scrutiny process, she said.

Ms Rosana also urged authorities to scrap the 1,000-baht banknote.

She said politicians who have records of buying votes often keep cash at home, resulting in low circulation of Thailand's highest banknote.

Scrapping the note value would discourage politicians from hoarding cash or keeping it with trusted associates.

Mr Sansern yesterday urged anyone who notices irregularities in the assets-and-liabilities disclosure of the 195 NLA members to lodge complaints with the NACC to initiate an investigation.

Concerns arose after several NLA members disclosed their assets and debts, as required by the constitution, revealing that several state officials have net assets worth more than 100 million baht each.

Among them, Defence Ministry permanent secretary Gen Sirichai Ditakul has assets worth 108 million baht.

Deputy national police chief Gen Jakthip Chaijinda has 97.4 million baht in assets and his wife has 870.9 million baht in assets. With 6.3 million baht in liabilities, the couple's net worth is 962 million baht.

From left, deputy national police chief Pol Gen Jakthip Chaijinda's wealth is 963 million baht, assistant army commander-in-chief Gen Preecha Chan-cha has 79 million, and former navy commander-in-chief Adm Surasak Runrongrom has 185 million. Their wealth has staggered observers.

National police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang has 246.4 million baht in assets and his wife has 128.2 million baht in assets, with a net worth of 355.8 million.

First Region Army commander Lt Gen Kampanat Ruddit has 99.8 million baht in net assets. Assistant army chief Lt Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha, who is the younger brother of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, has 79.8 million baht in net assets.

Mr Sansern said the NACC has yet to take a closer look into the assets of the NLA members.

"Some state officials have vast amounts of assets. It is possible they have inherited the wealth. The NACC hasn't examined how they have obtained it," Mr Sansern said.

Worawit Sukboon, the NACC's deputy secretary-general, said the agency will first verify the list of assets and debts.

It will order in-depth inquiries into those deemed "unusually rich".

Related search: Thailand, National Legislative Assembly, assets, Rosana Tositrakul, Sansern Poljiak

About the author

columnist
Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Online Editor of Learning & Education