PRIME MINISTER General Prayut Chan-o-cha, head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), has issued a new order setting aside 50 new positions at the Prime Minister’s Office for officials accused of corruption or under investigation.
The move initially transferred three officials, including a member of the Shinawatra family.
The rationale behind Wednesday’s order Number 68/2559 appeared to be to deal with officers being investigated for alleged wrongdoing or who were being considered for transfers to boost workforce fluidity.
Prayut invoked the interim charter’s Article 44, which grants the NCPO leader absolute legislative, executive and judicial power.
As a result, Panita Shinawatra, deputy director-general of the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion (OSMEP), will be transferred to a new post titled in the order as a “governmental officer to the PM’s Office”.
Panita is the niece of former prime ministers Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra.
OSMEP acting deputy director-general Chawan Svasti-Xuto and senior executive adviser Isra Phoomas were also shifted to the same position.
The order further stipulated that 50 posts would be designated for “governmental officers” at the PM’s Office to accommodate transfers from state enterprises, public organisations or other governmental agencies besides the bureaucracy.
The order also authorises the prime minister to decide the appointments and whether affected officials would be returned to their original posts.
Transferred officials will continue to receive the same salaries as in their former positions, the order said, and would work at the Prime Minister’s Office until their contracts expired or were ordered otherwise.
Prayut did not hold press interviews yesterday, while NCPO Spokesperson Colonel Winthai Suvaree said the order was an executive decision that he was not authorised to talk about.
The Nation also attempted to reach Panita and Chawan but did not receive a response as of press time yesterday.