6 businessmen face summons for 'land grabs'

6 businessmen face summons for 'land grabs'

The Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is expected to summon six businessmen suspected of illegally holding land plots reserved for landless farmers, Thanadon Suwannarit, an adviser to Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow, said on Tuesday.

Mr Thanadon made the remarks as he brought officials who are experts on land distribution laws to testify before the PACC as witnesses as a ministry investigation into land encroachment in Khao Yai National Park is underway.

He said the probe has made considerable progress as suspects have now been identified. The PACC will summon the businessmen suspected of illegally holding the Sor Por Kor land plots for questioning shortly, he said.

Mr Thanadon earlier said a ministry probe found that many farmers are also violating the rules regulating the use of Sor Por Kor land around the park's boundaries. These violations include illegal excavation of soil for commercial purposes and selling such plots to individuals and/or entities who are not entitled to occupy them.

As such, he said, the ministry and the Anti-Money Laundering Office are looking at ways to seize the properties of those involved in the unlawful use and/or transfer of Sor Por Kor plots.

He referred to two officials from the Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) in tambon Moosi, in Nakhon Ratchasima's Pak Chong district, who are suspected of being involved in the illegal allocation of the Sor Por Kor land reform plots.

He said arrest warrants will soon be issued, and seven other officials will be questioned.

He said the ministry found three Sor Por Kor plots are occupied by a major corporation.

Mr Thanadon also said he will lead an inspection of the encroachment of Sor Por Kor land nationwide within weeks.

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