Preecha defends son's appointment to army position

Preecha defends son's appointment to army position

Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha talks to reporters before attending a meeting of the Defence Council on Monday morning. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha talks to reporters before attending a meeting of the Defence Council on Monday morning. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha, the permanent secretary for defence, has come out to defend his son's appointment as an officer in the 3rd Army amid allegations of nepotism.

He said on Monday that his son, Patipat, had been properly recruited by the 3rd Army to fill a vacant post as civil affairs officer.

Gen Preecha said his son had the qualifications for the job as he had experience working in public relations with state-owned PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PTTEP) and he was a graduate in mass communication.

Applications for military positions were usually screened by a committee and it was his job as defence secretary to approve proposals made by the committee, as assigned by the defence minister, he said.

Gen Preecha said that in fact his son did not want to be a soldier, but he had wanted him to take a military job because it was more secure than being a PTTEP employee. He said he asked his son to apply when there was a vacant position.

He said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had no objection to him doing this, as long as it was correct and legitimate.

"Probably it is because his family name is Chan-o-cha it has drawn public attention. It is normal for children of high-ranking military officers to join the military when there are openings available. I don't want to say that the matter has been politicised," Gen Preecha said.

Questioned about NGO activist Srisuwan Janya's intention to ask the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate the appointment, Gen Preecha said he was ready to clarify the issue. He insisted he had properly followed the regulations.

Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, deputy prime minister and defence minister, told reporters he saw nothing wrong with the appointment.

He said recruitment and an appointment can be made immediately there is a vacancy, especially in a specialist field.

Gen Prawit avoided a straight reply when asked if the appointment of Gen Preecha's son amounted to nepotism. "Do you want to be soldiers?" he said

He also wondered why military documents were often leaked to the media, saying some of them were classified.

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