The Nation



Appeal against Vatana acquittal

THE POLLUTION Control Department has appealed to the Supreme Court against the acquittals of former deputy interior minister Vatana Asavahame and other defendants involved in the Klong Dan wastewater treatment plant scandal.

On November 19, the Appeals Court overturned their 2009 fraud convictions. Penchom sae Tang, director of the Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand Foundation, said yesterday that the Earth Foundation supported the department's decision to fight the ruling.

She urged the public to monitor the proceedings out of concern that the culprits would be let off the hook. "This case can set a precedent," she said.

Politicians and senior government officials who did wrong should be brought to justice, she added.

The case dates back to 1992-93, when Vatana was deputy interior minister. He was found to have abused his authority to coerce or persuade administration and land officials of Samut Prakan's Bang Bo district to issue title deeds for five plots covering 1,900 rai of state land to a firm partially owned by Vatana. The land was sold to the PCD for construction of the Bt23-billion wastewater treatment plant. In 2008, the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions also found Vatana guilty of malfeasance in office.

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