The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) was heavily criticised yesterday during the 2014 budget bill debate for its alleged ineffectiveness in dealing with a number of prominent cases.
The House of Representatives continued its fifth day of debate on the Bt2.5-trillion budget bill yesterday with Democrat MP Watchara Pechthong criticising the DSI for its alleged inefficiency and overt attempts to please the Yingluck Shinawatra administration.
Watchara asked why the DSI had not followed up the abduction and killing of anti-government businessman AkeyuthAnchanbutr, while pursuing a case about a Facebook posting by the Democrat Party’s deputy spokesperson Mallika Boonmee-trakool, which criticised the premier.
The DSI had also failed so far to retrieve ill-gotten gold from disgraced monk Luang Pu Nenkham, Watchara said. The MP alleged that the ex-monk was now being protected by an army general, who is a member of the ruling Pheu ThaiParty. He asked whether or not the DSI dared to retrieve the gold from the general.
The DSI’s request for a Bt35-million secret fund for 2014 was also questioned. Watchara asked whether or not such funds had been used in the past to finance foreign activities by the agency.
Watchara then proposed a five per cent cut in the budget requested by the DSI.
“I want to ask, to whom does the DSI pledge its loyalty – to the people? Or to the premier?”
Meanwhile, Democrat MP Satit Wongnongtoey proposed a 20-per cent cut in the DSI’s proposed investigation budget, citing the department’s failure to achieve its stated investigative role.
The House voted 288 to 109 to approve the Justice Ministry’s Bt19-billion budget.
It also approved Bt30 billion for the Labour Ministry, Bt6.6 billion for the Culture Ministry, Bt8.7 billion for the Science and Technology Ministry and Bt482 billion for the Education Ministry.
The Democrats yesterday reminded the vetting committee for the 2014 budget bill to submit documents about costs for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s overseas
travel and expenses related to Thailand preparing to be part of the ASEAN Community as well as government spending when it imposed the Internal Security Act to curb anti-government rallies earlier this month.
The second round of debate on the fiscal 2014 budget bill resumed yesterday after being halted last Saturday.
This must be finalised by midnight on Monday, otherwise, the bill will go to the Senate for review without any changes by the vetting committee – as it was approved in the first reading.