Anti-corruption body investigates minister

Anti-corruption body investigates minister

NACC has questions about vanishing debt

Deputy Transport Minister Weerasak Wangsuphakijkosol attends a cabinet meeting on March 30, 2021. (Government House photo)
Deputy Transport Minister Weerasak Wangsuphakijkosol attends a cabinet meeting on March 30, 2021. (Government House photo)

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is looking into a discrepancy in an asset declaration of Deputy Transport Minister Weerasak Wangsuphakijkosol and his wife Yolada, in which a 10-billion-baht debt was written off within two years.

NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon said his officials had begun examining several documents but he couldn’t go into details yet.

If the NACC found evidence of wealth concealment, a case would be filed in the Supreme Court for Politicians, he said.  Previous penalties for politicians and public officials for wealth concealment include being banned from politics for five years.   

The 10-billion-baht debt was declared in the an "assets and debts" category by Mr Weerasak, a politician from the Bhumjaithai Party and his wife, when he became an MP in 2019. 

Yet, the 10-billion-baht debt was missing from the latest declaration by Ms Yolada, who on Jan 24 became the elected president of Nakhon Ratchasima’s provincial administration organisation and was thus required to declare her assets.  

According to a recent statement by the NACC, debts totalling 10 billion baht that had been declared by Mr Weerasak two years ago had since become 35.5 million baht and were solely described as Ms Yolada’s overdrafts.

Mr Weerasak says the 10-billion-baht debt was incurred by someone else and he declared it two years ago simply because he had acted as a surety for that person.

He said he did not declare it in his updated assets because the substantial debt had been written off.

Mr Weerasak said he had already submitted documents containing details about the debt in question and he believed the documents were clear enough so that he doesn’t need to explain anything else to the NACC.

Mr Worawit also mentioned the new four cabinet ministers who had joined the cabinet in its latest reshuffle, saying they did not need to declare their assets again because they had already done so upon becoming MPs.

The four are Mr Weerasak, Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong, Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn and Deputy Commerce Minister Sinit Lertkrai.

These four cabinet ministers, however, may choose to declare their assets as a new record between March 28 and May 26 if they want to, he said.

Do you like the content of this article?

BioNTech to deliver 1.8bn doses this year

FRANKFURT: BioNTech said on Monday that its order backlog together with partner Pfizer for delivery of Covid-19 vaccines this year had grown to 1.8 billion doses, underscoring its role as a major global supplier of immunisation shots.


Malaysia declares nationwide lockdown

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Monday imposed a new nationwide lockdown, as the country grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases and highly infectious variants that the government said are testing its health system.


French court dismisses complaint over Agent Orange use in Vietnam War

A French court on Monday dismissed a case by an elderly French-Vietnamese woman against several agrochemical companies, including Monsanto and Dow Chemical, over the use by the US military of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.