Preecha job selection case tossed
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has dropped a complaint against former permanent secretary for defence Preecha Chan-o-cha, who was accused of abusing his power to appoint his son as an army officer.
The NACC's decision was revealed by People's Network Against Corruption secretary-general Veera Somkwamkid on his Facebook page.
He said the graft watchdog cited insufficient facts to back claims of dereliction of duty against Gen Preecha which led to the much-criticised appointment of his son, Patipat, as acting sub-lieutenant handling civil affairs in the 3rd Army Region.
Mr Veera said the NACC has informed the Defence Ministry about its decision.
The NACC found Gen Preecha was empowered to approve selections of personnel for jobs in the military. However, the appointment of his son had raised doubts over whether he could in fact exercise that power.
Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, said Gen Preecha abused his authority for personal gain and breached the Administrative Procedure Act, the 1999 Anti-Corruption Act and the Defence Ministry's code of ethics.
In April this year, he asked the NACC and the Office of the Ombudsman to look into the case.
Gen Preecha's elder brother, Prime Minister Prayut, earlier responded to the accusation, saying it was an ordinary appointment and the defence permanent secretary's duty is to approve selections.
The accusation is just one of several controversies to dog the former 3rd Army Region chief. The latest one concerns alleged irregularities in this military unit's construction projects.
Late last month, Mr Srisuwan again asked the NACC to investigate if Gen Preecha was involved in any conflict of interest that might benefit Contemporary Construction, in which Gen Preecha's other son, Pathompol, is a major shareholder.
The firm won several construction contracts with the 3rd Army Region, worth 97 million baht in total, between December 2014 and April this year, according to an Isranews report.