FFP boss queries army wealth

FFP boss queries army wealth

Future Forward Party (FFP) leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has launched a barrage of questions concerning the wealth of the Defence Ministry and many generals in reference to the ministry's dubious 18.6-billion-baht off-budget money.

The FFP team posted an article on Mr Thanathorn's Facebook page recently detailing the inquiry session held by the House Committee, of which he was a member, on the government's 3.2-trillion-baht budget request.

The party leader, whose MP status was revoked due to a media shareholding violation, yesterday announced his resignation from the panel claiming: "Some people do not want me to work here."

According to the Facebook post, Mr Thanathorn demanded the Defence Ministry give the committee more details about "Type 1 and Type 2 off-budget money".

The 18.6-billion-baht figure was obtained by the budget office and "is not the number presented by the Defence Ministry", Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Pornpipat Benyasri, had argued.

"We also request and spend budget normally without any given privilege," he insisted.

Army chief Apirat Kongsompong told the meeting that some of the off-budget money is revenue earned by military-run hospitals.

Mr Thanathorn also questioned the wealth of 81 generals, who were once members of the now-dissolved National Legislative Assembly, after he learned their mandatory asset declarations show they have an average of 12.7 million baht in earnings each year and assets worth up to 78 million baht.

Gen Apirat refused to comment, but Gen Pornpipat said all the NLA members had declared their assets according to the law.

The post noted that the military runs boxing and horse racing businesses.

"These are aimed at promoting youths' capabilities and support the welfare of veteran soldiers," Gen Pornpipat said.

"But if you ask me whether it's appropriate to have the military run these businesses, my answer is that it has been happening for a long time," he said, adding that it would be for the government to decide what to do about them.

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