Anti-graft panel split over summoning Prawit
A fact-finding committee on a collection of luxury watches worn by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon is divided over whether to summon the deputy premier to make a statement.
A source close to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said the panel is divided over the issue as it is waiting for Gen Prawit to submit his clarification.
According to the source, some panel members want to summon him so they can ask questions that may arise after he provides his statement. Others feel this is unnecessary at this stage.
The fact-finding committee is expected to decide on the matter once it receives Gen Prawit's clarification.
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As of Wednesday, the day before the latest deadline for Gen Prawit to hand over a written statement on the luxury timepieces worth a total of 39.5 million baht, the deputy prime minister had not submitted his clarification, said NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon.
The fourth deadline runs out on Thursday for Gen Prawit to hand over the statement. Gen Prawit's deadline has been continually extended despite the fact that the law allows the NACC to give only two extensions.
The deadline saga for Gen Prawit to explain his luxury watches to the NACC started on Jan 8. When it was repeatedly extended the NACC came under criticism that it was stalling the inquiry.
The NACC has claimed that because of the growing number of watches exposed on social media, the commission needed more time to investigate. It also claimed that to be fair, it had to give Gen Prawit more time to gather evidence for his explanation.
The luxury watches were not declared among his assets to the NACC and Gen Prawit claimed they all belonged to friends and have since been returned.
Mr Worawit would not answer if Gen Prawit would be allowed a further extension.
NACC president Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit on Wednesday distanced himself from the issue, directing questions on the matter to the NACC secretary-general.
He said the inquiry should be wrapped up and forwarded to the NACC for consideration soon.
Pol Gen Watcharapol is a former close aide of Gen Prawit. He was appointed NACC chief in December 2015, which raised questions about transparency at the time.