POL MAJ-GENERAL Romsit Viriyasan was abruptly removed from his top post at the Anti-Money Laundering Organisation (AMLO) largely because he failed to expedite a number of |long-delayed politically sensitive |cases, especially since the general election is looming, well-informed sources said.
Romsit was transferred to an inactive post on Tuesday, less than two months after taking over as secretary-general at AMLO. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha issued his transfer order under the charter’s Article 44.
Prayut said yesterday that though Romsit had done nothing wrong, AMLO’s leadership had been changed to make the agency more efficient.
Romsit worked under Pol General Chaiya Siriamphunkul, who is now chairman of the agency. Romsit’s abrupt removal followed the August 14 meeting of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chaired by Prayut and attended by deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, who had reportedly said there was a top-level discussion on AMLO’s leadership change.
In fact, Romsit had only been given the top position on June 29, so the change had come fast and was rather unusual.
For NCPO, the top AMLO post is crucial, especially in view of the looming general election due some time next year. Hence, the AMLO secretary-general has to be someone who can take immediate action to speed up pending cases that are politically sensitive.
Romsit’s predecessor, Chaiya, had done a satisfactory job earlier and hence was promoted to the chairman’s post after retirement. Chaiya’s deputy was supposed to run the agency under his watch. However, sources said Romsit had not expedited several pending cases, citing legal and other constraints, which prompted the premier to have him moved to an inactive post in the PM’s Office.
Over the past two months, few key cases under AMLO’s jurisdiction have advanced, especially in relation to politically sensitive cases such as those related to Panthongtae Shinawatra, son of fugitive former premier Thaksin.
Panthongtae faces charges from the National Anti-Corruption Commission as well as AMLO related to his alleged wrongdoing in the state-owned Krung Thai Bank loan fraud case.
Sources said AMLO would also play a powerful oversight role in the upcoming general election regarding the flow of funds that are used by politicians during the elections.
Even though Romsit was a trusted deputy of AMLO chairman Chaiya, who had personally chosen the former to succeed him as AMLO secretary-general, Romsit did not live up to the NCPO’s expectations. So, there will soon be a replacement as the Prayut government gets ready to hold general elections |next year.