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Sukampol cancels press conference on Abhisit conscription case

Defence Minister ACM Sukampol Suwannathat yesterday abruptly cancelled a press conference scheduled for today to explain the findings of his ministry

No explanation was given for the cancellation. The press conference was scheduled to begin at 3pm at the Defence Ministry. ACM Maitri Osothong, deputy permanent secretary for defence, who heads the fact-finding team in Abhisit's case, had also been due to appear at the press conference.

Last week, the defence minister said there were discrepancies between the conscription document Abhisit used when applying for a teaching job at Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy and his records at the Conscription Registrar's Office.

A spokesman for the ruling Pheu Thai Party, Prompong Nopparit, yesterday said he would ask the defence minister and the military academy to investigate whether any falsified document was used in Abhisit's job application. If they failed to act urgently, he would file a petition against them for dereliction of duty, Prompong said.

The Pheu Thai spokesman also urged the Ombudsman's Office to expedite its investigation into the matter.

Abhisit, who is leader of the Democrat Party, yesterday said he had offered many times a defence against the allegation that he evaded military service. He said he had to be careful now about commenting publicly as his defamation case against Pheu Thai MP Jatuporn Prompan for making such an accusation was before the Criminal Court.

He called on the government to investigate this matter by looking into the relevant documents and official records of his military conscription.

Meanwhile, Raksakecha Chaechai, deputy secretary-general of the Ombudsman's Office, said yesterday that the agency would not try to find out whether Abhisit had evaded military service.

He said the complainant, Pheu Thai politician Kamol Bandaiphet, had asked the Ombudsman's Office to determine whether the defence minister failed to perform his duty properly for failing to look into Abhisit's case.

The official said that within a day or two, the agency's officials would forward to Sriracha Charoenpanit, the ombudsman responsible for military affairs, the documents obtained from the defence minister regarding Abhisit's case.


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