Abhisit Vejjajiva
Abhisit Vejjajiva

Abhisit and Yingluck cleared of mishandling 2011 flood response

politics September 16, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

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THE NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION Commission (NACC) yesterday dismissed the charges against officials including former prime ministers Abhisit Vejjajiva and Yingluck Shinawatra for alleged mismanagement which resulted in severe flooding in 2011.

The officials – including the then-director of the Flood Relief Operations Centre Pol General Pracha Promnok and the then-Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Boripat – were found not guilty of malfeasance.

Abhisit had been accused of misconduct for having kept a huge amount of water in the Bhumibol and Sirikit Dams and failing to unload it. It was said that the action consequently resulted in the heavy flooding that hit many provinces in the northern and central parts of the country, including Bangkok.

The NACC ruled Abhisit was not guilty, saying that as prime minister he had no part in determining the water storage in the dams, which was the responsibility of the panel monitoring and analysing the water situation.

In addition, earlier that year the water level in the dams had been well below the minimum amount held by any other dam, the NACC said.

This implied that the officials had been prepared for the impact of tropical storms that would bring heavy rains and increase the water in the dams.

After an investigation, the NACC also cleared the panel monitoring the water situation, saying they had not been derelict or malfeasant.

Yingluck, who took office in August after Abhisit, was accused of dereliction of duty for allegedly failing to divert the water in the dams to the east and west of the country, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Plan, and which resulted in severe flooding.

The NACC ruled she was not guilty.

It said that the disaster risk reduction plan gave only broad management guidelines in tackling flood situations. It had no specifications on water diversion, it explained. The diversion of water from the north had to strictly take into consideration the immediate situation, it added.

The NACC found that the officials had dealt with the situation accordingly, and even if the water had been diverted to the east and west, it still would not have alleviated the issue.

Pracha, as director of the Flood Relief Operations Centre, had been accused of malfeasance for failing to notify the public about the flood.

The NACC, however, found that Pracha had ordered that several panels be set up to notify people as well as provide aid for flood victims, including setting up a 24-hour hotline before and after the flood. Therefore, the agency ruled, he was not negligent.

Former Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand, who was accused of mismanagement and causing the floods in Bangkok’s perimeter, was also cleared.

The NACC ruled his actions were in line with the policy passed down from the Flood Relief Operations Centre.