Prime Minster Prayut Chan-o-cha has distanced himself from the scandal surrounding his younger brother's involvement in alleged irregularities in 3rd Army Region construction projects, saying he prefers to see the issue handled by the corruption watchdog.
The allegations "have nothing to do with me", said Gen Prayut who seemed irritated when reporters asked him Tuesday whether he was concerned over the impact the scandal would have on his government's policy to crack down on corrupt officials.
Public confidence in the government's anti-corruption efforts and the suspicions surrounding his brother, Gen Preecha, who once commanded the 3rd Army Region, are different issues, the premier said.
He said Gen Preecha has to take responsibility for what happened since it was impossible for him to be held responsible for the actions of another person.
Gen Preecha has come under intense pressure after Association for the Protection of the Constitution secretary-general Srisuwan Janya last week urged the National Anti-Corruption Commission to look into whether Gen Preecha was involved in any conflict of interest that might have benefited Contemporary Construction, in which his son, Pathompol, is a major shareholder.
The firm won seven contracts with the 3rd Army Region between December 2014 and April this year, worth a combined 97 million baht, according to an Isranews report. Gen Preecha denied any wrongdoing.
Gen Prayut said his brother had come to see him to "make an apology". He did not admit to any wrongdoing but said something might have been "inappropriate", the premier said.
Gen Preecha said on Monday he was unaware his son used the family residence at the 3rd Army Region base in Phitsanulok as an address to register his firm.
Gen Preecha admitted Tuesday the ministry paid 7,800 baht for the construction of a weir in Fang district of Chiang Mai provinice earlier this month. It was dedicated at an ostentatious and possibly illegal ceremony led by his wife, Ms Pongphan, who stood on a red carpet placed on a muddy field.
The ceremony was revealed by a lead story on the website of the Wives' Association of the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence (WAOPSD) - which is headed by Ms Pongphan.
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