PRD chief Sansern faces election probe

PRD chief Sansern faces election probe

Accused of PPRP bias in campaign

Sansern Kaewkamnerd, director-general of the Public Relations Department
Sansern Kaewkamnerd, director-general of the Public Relations Department

A senior official at the Public Relations Department (PRD) on Tuesday accused his boss of failing to maintain political impartiality during the March 24 election campaign, in a petition lodged with the House committee on corruption.

In his petition, PRD deputy chief Charoon Chaisorn called for a probe into the conduct of the department's director-general Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd on two charges.

He accused Lt Gen Sansern of instructing PRD officials to publish election material from the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) during the campaign and of using a chat application to attack former prime ministers.

Lt Gen Sansern was also accused of dereliction of duty over a 25-million-baht PRD construction project that caused damages to the state. Repair work needed soon after the building was handed over did not comply with the design.

The petition was accepted by Seri Ruamthai Party leader Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, chair of the House committee on prevention and suppression of corruption.

Lt Gen Sansern on Tuesday shrugged off the accusations, saying he would cooperate with the probe, while also questioning Mr Charoon's right to file the petition. Mr Charoon has reportedly also lodged complaints against Lt Gen Sansern with the Permanent Secretary's Office of the PM's Office and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission.

"If I am found to be in the wrong, I go to jail. If I am cleared of the allegations, the story ends," he told the Bangkok Post.

He denied any failure to maintain political impartiality, saying he has no political affiliations and has not sought favours from any party. However, he admitted to once mistaking information from a political party for that from the government.

"When I ... found a political party's logo on the materials, I had it removed immediately," he said.

On the construction project scandal, he said he was not involved in the committee in charge of inspection and hand-over.

The committee has also set up panels to probe allegations of drug trafficking and fake education documents levied against Thamanat Prompow, deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister. He said they have 30 days to gather evidence before summoning Capt Thamanat and those involved in his appointment. Pol Gen Sereepisuth said the probes will be unnecessary if Capt Thamanat is dropped from the cabinet.

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