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The national police chief has ordered Special Branch Police (SBP) to withdraw its officers assigned to provide security for politicians if the practice is not in line with regulations, a police spokesman says.

The move follows growing criticism about the deployment of Pol Col Wathanyu Watcharapalothai as a security officer for former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. He began serving as Ms Yingluck’s security escort before she left power.

Pictures of Pol Col Wathanyu, assistant duty officer attached to the deputy police chief, accompanying Ms Yingluck including at a department store and during the recent search of her motorcade in Chiang Mai have been shared widely on social media. Some people argue his assignment is inappropriate.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri, assistant national police chief and spokesman for the Royal Thai Police, said police chief Pol Gen Somyot Pumpunmuang is concerned about the criticism and has instructed the SBP to look into cases of police or retired officers serving as bodyguards to politicians.

He said if it turns out that requests by politicians or VIPs for police protection are not in line with regulations or deemed inappropriate, those personnel will be withdrawn.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut said the deployment of police on special protection duty has been authorised by others, not by Pol Gen Somyot.

He said the Royal Thai Police (RTP) will review criteria involving the deployment of police as security personnel for politicians to establish a standard practice.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut said officials need to explain the circumstances in which Pol Col Wathanyu was sent to Ms Yingluck.

Pol Col Wathanyu was said to be part of Ms Yingluck’s entourage when she saw her brother Thaksin Shinawatra in Europe in July last year to celebrate his birthday. He also guarded her when she went on holiday in Japan in October and saw her brother there.

Somchai Sawaengkarn, a member of the National Legislative Assembly, says he wants the Royal Thai Police to explain why Pol Col Wathanyu is still assigned to Ms Yingluck.

This was contrary to a RTP order prohibiting its personnel from joining activities with politicians and influential persons, he added.

Yingluck’s fate sealed, says Pheu Thai

Posted by pakin On January - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Ex-PM’s allies claim NLA urged to impeach

It is clear that former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be impeached when the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) decides her fate on Friday, according to the Pheu Thai Party.

The military and the NLA, meanwhile, have reiterated that lawmakers are free to vote however they see fit and claim there has been no direction from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) or the government on which way to vote.

However, Pheu Thai core member Surapong Tovichakchaikul said NLA members have already made up their minds about the allegations against Ms Yingluck, citing her absence from Friday’s questioning.

Some NLA members, especially those from the Group of 40 Senators, are hostile towards Ms Yingluck and are bent on impeaching her, he said.

Mr Surapong maintained the National Anti Corruption Commission’s (NACC) probe into Ms Yingluck’s role in the rice-pledging scheme has been hasty and its conclusion that her behaviour implies corruption is more of a feeling than a carefully considered conclusion.

Another key Pheu Thai member, red-shirt leader Worachai Hema, said the former prime minister’s fate has already been decided.

He said the impeachment process against Ms Yingluck is part of a campaign to uproot obstacles in the way of the coup-makers and those who want to prolong Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s stay in power.

Ms Yingluck will be banned from politics for five years if she is impeached.

She is unlikely to survive the impeachment vote, Mr Hema said, adding that former House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranon and ex-Senate speaker Nikhom Wairatpanich, who both face impeachment proceedings for supporting a charter amendment bid, are likely to be impeached too.

A source close to Pheu Thai’s internal affairs committee said Sunday the NACC and the NLA are in league in the case against Ms Yingluck.

The source warned about possible political unrest in the aftermath, saying the NLA would face tremendous pressure and social division would be rekindled if it rules against the former premier.

Supreme Commander Gen Worapong Sanganet insisted Sunday the NCPO and the government are not pulling strings in the impeachment vote, set for Friday.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark Royal Thai Armed Forces Day, Gen Worapong, also a member of the NCPO, said lawmakers, including those close to the military, will decide freely when casting their vote.

The NCPO and government will not interfere with their judgement, he said.

All 220 NLA members were handpicked by the NCPO and more than 100 of them are former and active military officers.

By law, the votes of three-fifths of the 220 NLA members, or 132 members, are needed to impeach Ms Yingluck.

Gen Worapong played down speculation about possible violence breaking out following the NLA rulings, saying he believed the public would accept the decisions and support the government’s efforts to return peace and order.

NLA vice-president Surachai Liangboonlertchai maintained there has been no direction or intervention, as the NLA prepared to cast a secret ballot.

Mr Nikhom and Mr Somsak will deliver closing statements on Wednesday while Ms Yingluck will do so on Thursday.

Ms Yingluck can choose whether or not to address the questions prepared by the NLA’s inquiry committee when making her closing statement, he said.

The questions were made public on Friday, when Ms Yingluck failed to appear before the NLA to answer the 35 questions.

Her lawyers and former ministers who turned up to testify on her behalf were not allowed to answer the questions, as the NLA insisted they were designed for Ms Yingluck alone.

“Ms Yingluck has another chance to answer the questions. I believe the NLA will give them [the NACC and Ms Yingluck] the opportunity before the vote on Friday,” Mr Surachai said.

The NLA would review the situation and decide whether extra security measures would be necessary to make sure that voting would not be disrupted, he said, adding the situation would be kept under control. He called on the public to accept the outcome.

A source in the NLA said that its president, Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, has instructed all members to attend the meeting from Wednesday until Friday and told those who are overseas to return by Tuesday.

The ex-premier will appear before the NLA to make her closing statement, said her lawyer, Norawit Lalaeng.

Former PM seeks justice as she appears before NLA

Posted by pakin On January - 9 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday said she has already been “impeached” three times.

The ousted former premier made the comment as she faced the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) during her impeachment proceedings in the case hearing filed by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. She is accused of dereliction of duty in the rice-pledging scheme that led to corruption and billions of baht in losses.

“I come here today to seek justice,” she said.

She added that she no longer holds any positions of which she can be stripped.

“The impeachment [against me] will not only affect me but also dim farmers’ hopes,” she told the NLA during the impeachment proceedings that could see her banned from politics for five years.

NLA defers debate over Yingluck impeachment

Posted by pakin On November - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Ruangkrai seeks halt to move against ex-PM

The National Legislative Assembly’s whips have deferred consideration of the proposed impeachment of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in connection with the controversial rice pledging scheme to Nov 28.

The postponement came after Ms Yingluck’s lawyer requested the deliberation be put off for 30 days to allow more time for her to study the impeachment case files more thoroughly, NLA whip spokesman Jet Siratharanon said after a meeting.

The whips were informed in a report that written notification about the impeachment deliberation reached Ms Yingluck last Friday and she is entitled to 15 more days to study the document, said Dr Jet.

But since the 15th day falls on Nov 22, a Saturday, the NLA decided to defer the first round of the impeachment deliberation to its next meeting on Nov 28, he said.

The NLA is also due to consider the proposed impeachment of ex-Senate speaker Nikom Wairatpanij and ex-House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranon on Nov 27.

The impeachment bids were being pursued against the two for their support of an attempt to amend the 2007 charter to make the Senate fully elected, which the Constitutional Court has ruled was in breach of Section 68 of the charter that prohibits unconstitutional efforts to seize power.

NLA member Somchai Sawaengkarn, in his capacity as secretary of the NLA whips, said a second postponement of the impeachment deliberation is unlikely.

Meanwhile, Ruangkrai Leekijwattana, a member of the Pheu Thai Party’s legal team, submitted a petition to Senate secretary-general Norarat Phimsen, as secretary-general of the NLA, requesting the NLA scrap its planned impeachment deliberation against Ms Yingluck.

The NLA, however, decided after discussing Mr Ruangkrai’s move that he was not actually involved in the matter.

Mr Ruangkrai had argued the interim charter doesn’t grant impeachment power to the NLA and it was misinterpreting the term “other affairs” in Section 13 of the charter to claim it covers impeachment.

Aside from Tuesday’s petition, Mr Ruangkrai said he has also petitioned the Office of the Ombudsman to consider requesting the Constitutional Court to interpret ambiguity in the interim charter.

Mr Ruangkrai also warned the NLA that it risks being viewed as violating the interim constitution if it goes ahead with the impeachment bid while it remains unclear whether it actually has the power to do any of that.

Ms Yingluck has been accused of negligence for failing to stop corruption and losses in the rice pledging scheme. She chaired the National Rice Policy Committee (NRPC) when she was prime minister.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has found Ms Yingluck, as the leader of the last government, must be held responsible for its failure to honour its pledge to fight corruption and improve agricultural product prices as declared in parliament on Aug 23, 2011, said an NLA source.

The NACC had formally cautioned Ms Yingluck twice, once on Oct 7, 2011 and again on April 30, 2012, over corruption in the rice scheme and recommended that she take action against it, said the source.

Furthermore, the sub-committee set up by the NRPC to report the rice scheme’s balance sheets had informed Ms Yingluck three times about the rises in the project’s accumulated losses, said the same source.

The first time the sub-committee reported to Ms Yingluck was on May 31, 2011 when it found the preliminary losses facing the scheme came to 32.3 billion baht, said the source.

The second time Ms Yingluck was informed by the same panel was on Jan 31 last year when the project’s total losses reached 220.9 billion baht, said the source.

The last time the sub-committee reported to Ms Yingluck was on May 31 last year when the scheme’s accumulated losses had amounted to 332.3 billion baht, the same source said.

Besides, the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) also sent a formal letter to Ms Yingluck to warn her about the corruption risks in all processes of the scheme’s implementation; but Ms Yingluck insisted on going ahead with the project, said the source.