Two park chiefs facing graft claims transferred

Two park chiefs facing graft claims transferred

Attapol: Probes must be transparent
Attapol: Probes must be transparent

The acting chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has transferred two national park chiefs under investigation for alleged corruption.

Attapol Charoenchansa, acting chief of the DNP and chief of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, on Tuesday signed the transfer order.

One of those being moved is Chanu Dejthanyanond, chief of Khao Leam Ya-Mu Ko Samet National Park in Rayong, and the other is Phanpong Kongkaew, chief of Tarutao National Park in Satun province.

Both are involved in separate complaints involving the taking of bribes, he said, adding both officials need to be transferred to other areas to ensure the probes' transparency.

Mr Attapol said several business operators filed complaints against Mr Chanu, claiming he requested money in exchange for approving some construction projects on the island.

They also alleged he collected extra fees from business operators who provided rental cars and motorcycles on the island.

Mr Chanu is being transferred to oversee Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park in Rayong.

Mr Phanpong has been accused of abusing his authority due to his alleged role in helping business operators encroach upon forest land on Lipe island, Mr Attapol said.

Mr Phanpong has been moved to an inactive post in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, he added.

Mr Attapol said the chiefs were appointed by the former director-general of the DNP, Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya, who is under investigation over allegations he took bribes from forest officials for higher positions.

It is expected the investigation will conclude by the end of this week, Mr Attapol said. If found guilty, Mr Rutchada will be expelled from his post, which is the maximum punishment within the DNP.

Mr Rutchada is also being investigated by police from the Anti-Corruption Division, where he faces possible criminal charges.

Last week, Mr Attapol set up a special committee to revise the list of transfers made by Mr Rutchada, saying that all names will be reviewed to ensure the right person is placed in the right role.

Mr Attapol said he is attempting to retrieve the public's trust and confidence in the department, damaged by the corruption case involving Mr Rutchada.

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