General Prawit Wongsuwan
General Prawit Wongsuwan

Prayut warns that he would be ‘more aggressive’ without embattled Prawit

politics December 13, 2017 01:00

By The Nation

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PRIME MINISTER General Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday claimed that some of the allegations against his deputy, General Prawit Wongsuwan, targeted their relationship and people would like to see the two of them separated.

“But I’m strong, and you know that if I had no one by my side, I would become more aggressive and exercise my full power,” Prayut said.

Prawit has recently been a centre of controversy for his response to the death of a military cadet, as well as his possession of an expensive wristwatch and diamond ring. 

Last week, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) gave Prawit 30 days to justify his possession of the two extravagant items, which he wore during a group photograph with the recently reshuffled Cabinet the preceding Monday.

The photo – which showed the 72-year-old retired general shielding his eyes with his hand, displaying what appeared to be extremely expensive accessories – quickly caught the public’s attention and raised questions as to how a lifelong military officer could afford such luxuries.

Prayut yesterday urged the media not to pressure Prawit over the allegations surrounding the accessories. He also appealed for legal procedures to be followed in the case, and urged the public not to be pessimistic.

Prayut said he was not giving moral support to the deputy prime minister, as Prawit was strong enough to handle the issue. 

According to the NACC, Prawit has not yet submitted a letter to clarify his possession of the items. The agency sent a letter informing Prawit about the matter last Thursday, said the official.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the NACC must demonstrate its integrity in its inquiry into the allegation, and consider the case based on the facts. The NACC head, Pol General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, who is said to be close to Prawit, must also show his integrity and impartiality in leading the probe, Abhisit said. 

Watcharapol once served as a deputy secretary-general to the prime minister attached to Prawit.