Prayut defends brother against nepotism claims

Prayut defends brother against nepotism claims

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha waved away nepotism charges against his young brother Gen Preecha, permanent secretary for defence, over the
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha waved away nepotism charges against his young brother Gen Preecha, permanent secretary for defence, over the "ordinary appointment" of the prime miniser's nephew Patipat to a post at the Ministry of Defence. (Photos by Thanarak Khunton and Apichart Jinakul)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday defended his brother against allegations of nepotism after a leaked memo revealed that the permanent secretary for defence had secured a post in the military for his son.

Patipat Chan-o-cha, 25, will now serve as an acting sub-lieutenant handling civil affairs in the 3rd Army, with a salary of 15,000 baht, according to the document signed by Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha.

Gen Prayut insisted it was a minor matter and "simply an ordinary appointment".

"Today the offspring of military families are appointed (to positions) because they gain trust from what their parents have done for the country," the premier told reporters.

"Everything was legal and correct, that's it," he added.

Gen Preecha also defended the move in comments to local media, saying his son may lack a military background but is qualified for the post through his experience working in public relations with state-owned PTT Exploration and Production Plc and holds a degree in communications.

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

The controversy has seen activists file complaints of nepotism to the state's anti-graft agency. Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, on Monday petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman to look into Gen Preecha's appointment of his son as an officer.

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